A man from Letchworth Garden City has been sentenced to eight years imprisonment with a three-year extended license for “dangerousness” after attempting to strangle a woman just 24 hours after being released from prison.
Ashley Banks, aged 35 and of no fixed abode, sexually assaulted the woman multiple times, punched her repeatedly in the face and put his arms around her throat in July 2022.
At the St Albans Crown Court hearing on Wednesday 1 March, Banks was given:
- 8 years imprisonment for sexual assault by penetration
- 6 years for another sexual assault by penetration
- 12 months for non-fatal strangulation, all to run concurrently.
Banks was the second person in Hertfordshire to be charged with non-fatal strangulation and suffocation on Friday 8 July using new legislation that only became a criminal offence on 7 June 2022. He was found guilty of sexual and physical abuse following a two-day trial in December 2022.
Banks also assaulted a member of the public who intervened during his attack on the victim and kicked a police officer and was racially abusive towards another when he was arrested that day.
Additionally, he was given:
- 14 months for two counts of sexual assault by touching
- 6 months for racially aggravated public order
- 4 months for ABH
- 2 months for assault by beating
- 1 month for assaulting an emergency worker, all to run concurrently.
Banks showed no remorse throughout the trial, and the victim left the area ahead of the trial as she feared for her life in case he was released.
The impact of his actions last year left her fearful to leave her house and scared of having a relationship.
“Banks is a danger to women,” said Investigator Lauren Shelley who led the case. “The victim was subjected to brutal sexual assaults. This was a sustained attack on a vulnerable woman, and it was sheer luck that the victim didn’t sustain any serious injuries – strangulation, even momentarily is extremely perilous.”
She continued: “We are pleased that Banks has been convicted and has received a substantial sentence to safeguard women from his torrent of abuse. The victim was absolutely terrified of Banks and feared for her life that day. Our priority was to safeguard her from further harm. She has been supported by police alongside partner agencies and I hope this sentence brings her some comfort as she continues to rebuild her life following this horrific incident.
“Following her frightening ordeal, she was understandably unable to support a police investigation, but due to the seriousness of the offences, that didn’t stop us from investigating independently and we gathered enough evidence, including CCTV footage, to bring him before the courts.
“Banks showed absolutely no remorse throughout the trial and the victim left the area ahead of the trial as she feared for her life in case he was released. The impact of his actions last year have left her fearful to leave her house and scared of having a relationship.”
In summing up, HHJ Sandeep Kainth described Banks as ‘dangerous’ and added the three-year extended licence to protect other women from his predatory behaviour.