A St Leonards man is starting a life prison sentence for a series of rapes and other sexual assaults on three vulnerable teenagers, following an investigation by safeguarding detectives.
Harley Everest, 23, of Bohemia Road, was sentenced at Lewes Crown Court on Friday, May 25 having been found guilty on May 9 of four counts of rape, one count of sexual assault by penetration, four counts of sexual assault and one count of witness intimidation.
He received a total sentence of life imprisonment, and will have to serve a minimum of 10 years and 165 days before being eligible to apply for parole. Everest will also be a registered sex offender for life.
He arranged to meet up with one of his victims in November 2015, taking her back to his flat where he raped and sexually assaulted her. The young woman called 999 on the same day. A police investigation began immediately and Everest was arrested.
During the investigation, the other two victims were traced and reported that they had also been raped by him when they were under the age of 18, also in his flat.
One of them was the victim of one count of rape and four counts of sexual assault. She was also the victim of witness intimidation, police say, when Everest approached her in November 2017 while still under investigation and threatened her, which could have led her to withdraw her evidence. However she promptly reported this to the police too.
The other girl was the victim of rape and sexual assault.
Detective Constable Jane Donnelly of the Hastings Safeguarding investigations Unit said: “It became clear during our investigation that Everest posed a serious risk to vulnerable young females. He exhibited predatory behaviour towards them as he actively looked for opportunities to take advantage of these victims, all of whom he had met locally.
“They were all very vulnerable and all had varying degrees of learning difficulties. It is thanks to their bravery by standing up to him and their commitment during the trial that a very dangerous sexual predator is no longer able to manipulate and take advantage of more young girls.
“We will always seek to protect the most vulnerable in society from the actions of those who target them and we encourage anyone who may have been the victim of any sexual offences to contact us online or on 101, and arrange to talk in confidence to experienced investigators.”
Information and sources of advice on child sexual exploitation are also available online from Sussex Police.