A convicted rapist – who was jailed a second time after attacking a woman as his mother slept next door – has failed in a bid to clear his name.
Steven Thomas Burdess had already served a sentence for drunkenly raping a woman when he met his latest victim on a night out.
They went back to his house for a “party” in November 2012, but when she found she was the only guest, Burdess raped her in a bedroom.
The 34-year-old, of Totnes Close, Sunderland, claimed the sex was consensual, but was found guilty at Newcastle Crown Court last March and jailed for eight years.
Considered a danger to society, he was also ordered to serve an additional four years on “extended” licence, during which the authorities can monitor him after his release.
Last week, he appealed against his conviction before three top judges at London’s Court of Appeal, claiming evidence of his previous conviction should not have gone before the jury.
The evidence was unfairly prejudicial to his defence and it had only served to bolster a weak prosecution case, he complained. But ruling on his appeal, Lord Justice Jackson said similarities between the previous rape and the current offence justified the jury being told.
Both offences had the unusual feature of the attacker putting himself in danger of being immediately discovered.
While his mother was in a room next door during the 2012 offence, his previous victim’s boyfriend had actually been in the same bed when he raped her, said the judge.
And even without the previous conviction to show Burdess’s propensity to commit such offences, the prosecution case was not weak, he continued.
The victim had complained about the attack immediately afterwards and was “crying and hysterical” when she was picked up by her brother soon afterwards.
The judge said: “When one stands back and looks at the prosecution evidence in the round, it can be seen that this was a strong case, even ignoring the previous conviction for rape.”
The conviction was upheld.