A FLINTSHIRE chef has been sent to prison for 10 years after he committed a brutal city centre rape and assault.

Mark Caunce, now 22, of Victoria Road, Buckley, had admitted raping and causing grievous bodily harm to a 32-year-old woman in an alleyway just off of Foregate Street, Chester.

As a result of the terrifying 45-minute ordeal, which took place in July last year, the woman suffered serious injuries to her neck, face and body.

Medical reports showed she suffered from a three-inch internal tear, a broken nose, a fracture to the eye socket and the cheek bone, multiple bruises to the head and face, bruising around neck, a blow to the head and cuts inside her mouth during the attack.

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, remained in intensive care at the Countess of Chester Hospital for several weeks.

Caunce had initially denied the charges and was two weeks into a trial in January before he changed his plea to guilty.

He was due to be sentenced on April 26 but instead his legal team told the judge they could no longer represent him and Caunce indicated he wished to seek new representation.

Caunce’s new legal team decided not to proceed with an application to change his plea to not guilty.

At a sentencing hearing in Manchester Crown Court, prosecutor David Potter said following the rape, Caunce, who worked as a trainee chef at the Best Western Queen Hotel on City Road, Chester, walked across the road to Abbey Taxis in Foregate Street where he calmly got a taxi back home.

Half an hour later, the victim walked out of the alleyway and also went to Abbey Taxis where staff who witnessed her injuries called an ambulance.

Mr Potter said: “The complainant was between three and five times the legal limit to drive.

“It is accepted by Mark Caunce that she was incapable of consent.

“Three neighbours say they heard vicious noises coming from the alleyway.”

Kenneth Hind, defending, said Caunce accepted he would receive a substantial prison sentence.

“It is one of those sad cases whereby much of the background of his life has contributed to what has happened,” he said.

“His mother and father separated at an early stage. He lived with his mother and his stepfather who was violent. He has also had to live with his grandmother and his father.

“His father has now died and I understand he is still grieving from that.

“He deeply regrets what has happened. He has read the impact statement of the victim and, likewise, it has ruined his own life. He will now have his child grow up without him.”

Caunce was sentenced to six years for rape and four years for inflicting grievous bodily harm, to be served consecutively.

Judge Nicholas Woodward told Caunce he had taken advantage of the woman’s vulnerability.

“Your victim was a decent young woman who on the night in question had far too much to drink,” he said.

“It is clear that the state of intoxication was so severe that she was passed a point of coherence.

“Her vulnerability would have been quite apparent to anyone, even someone
intoxicated such as yourself on that night.”