A STUDENT who graduated with a first class degree in engineering has been jailed for twice raping a young woman in Cirencester.

Matthew Dickens, aged 25, of Greet Road, Winchcombe, was jailed for six years at Gloucester Crown Court on Friday for raping a woman he met on Snapchat.

The court also heard that Dickens had a past convictions for five offences, including three of stalking, against a young girl while he was a youth in a different part of the country. 

He entered into a relationship while she was underage and had become controlling and coercive towards her. 

Jerry Hayes, defending, said: “Despite everything he has completed a first class degree in electric and electronic engineering and until being remanded in custody last week has been employed on a graduates’ entrance scheme.

“This offence occurred some time ago and as this court has heard he has had difficulty in obtaining a drug he needs to keep his body in check. 

"This situation will only get worse in prison and without his medication, this may hinder him whilst in custody.”

During a five day trial at Gloucester Crown Court in September prosecutor Giles Nelson told the jury how Dickens was invited to a property in Cirencester on Friday, January 17 last year after meeting the victim on Snapchat.

Nelson said: "He arrived with a friend at 10.40pm.

“She remembers waking up with Dickens laying over her and having sex with her. 

“She is adamant she told Dickens to stop, but he ignored this. 

"He then put his hands around her throat to such a point that she couldn’t breathe. 

"Dickens continued to have sex with her, without her consent.”

The jury took just two hours to return guilty verdicts on two charges of rape.

The victim told the court in a statement: “This whole situation has had an impact on me in numerous ways. 

“This includes the initial pain which I suffered as it lasted for some two months, and my ability to form relationships and being in the company of men. 

"I don’t like being served by men in restaurants or answering the door to delivery drivers. 

“My own studies have suffered as I can no longer concentrate on lectures as something always triggers a flashback in me. 

"I am suicidal and am undergoing treatment with a counsellor. 

“I now suffer severe mood swings and shout at those closest to me."

Judge Rupert Lowe told Dickens: “You've had previous convictions for sexual offending whilst a youth which ended with you sending thousands of messages to her when she broke off the relationship. 

“That period should have been an important learning experience for you in that the law protects girls and women from predatory and controlling sexual behaviour by boys and men. 

“I regret to say you’ve not taken on board that lesson when you met this woman from Cirencester on social media. 

" It is clear she did not consent to what you were doing and didn’t want it to go any further and told you to stop. 

“Frankly you did not care whether or not she agreed."

When the judge sentenced Dickens to six years in prison, he started crying and wiping away his tears. 

The judge imposed indefinite sex offender registration and a 10-year restraining order.

Dickens must not contact his victim by any means during the period of the order. 

READ MORE : Rape victim's harrowing words in court