Army chef jailed for raping girl in a tent

First published in News

AN Army chef based in Colchester has been jailed for raping a teenage girl.

Vila Woods raped the 17-year-old in a tent at a medieval re-enactment weekend.

Woods, 30, of Merville Barracks, admitted the charge and was jailed for three years at Warwick Crown Court.

He is set to be thrown out of the Army and will be a registered sex offender for life.

The court heard Woods attended the re-enactment at Ragley Hall, in south Warwickshire, during time off from his job at Colchester Garrison in August last year.

Matthew Baines, prosecuting, said the victim and her boyfriend gave Woods permission to share the tent with them on the second night.

The boyfriend had taken a sleeping tablet and was sound asleep, which is when Woods pounced.

The victim woke to find Woods was raping her.

She tried to rouse her boyfriend and typed what had happened on her phone. Woods stopped, left the tent and later the event.

He was arrested in Colchester and claimed the sex had been consensual before later admitting rape. Judge Richard Griffith-Jones told him: “In some ways it is a very great shame to see someone like you in the dock of a crown court, but you had a wholly unrealistic and unwelcome approach to this victim.

“I don’t care if she had been flirting with you, what you did was completely unjustified.

“It was bizarre behaviour when she was there with her boyfriend.

“She was so shocked that what you deserved – an elbow in the face – did not happen.

“It is a very distressing thing to happen, a terrible invasion of her intimacy.”

The Ministry of Defence said an application would be made for Woods’s discharge from the Army.

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