Exmouth hairdresser found guilty of rape

An Exmouth hairdresser has been warned he faces prison after being found guilty of raping a drunken teenager.

John Stewart, 43, who was living at the Lord Nelson pub in High Street, Topsham, near, Exeter, was today, Thursday, found guilty of raping an 18-year-old man and a second offence of causing him to engage in sexual activity without his consent.

The jury, sitting at Exeter Crown Court, found Stewart not guilty of sexually assaulting a second drunken teenager in a bathroom during the same incident last year.

Stewart had denied all the charges put before him when his trial began at Exeter Crown Court on Monday

The three-day trial ended in two 11-1 majority guilty verdicts after the jury spent almost seven hours reaching a decision.

Stewart, now of Fairview Avenue, Laira, Plymouth, was ordered to return to court on August 4, where he faces sentencing.

He was released on conditional bail for pre-sentencing reports to be completed.

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Stewart was also told to sign the sex offenders’ register.

Judge Victor Salomonsen warned Stewart to ‘put his affairs in order’ before returning to court next month, saying a jail term was likely.

The judge said: “It is almost inevitable that custody will follow,”

He added sentencing would follow the completion of pre-sentencing reports, which would tell the judge ‘all there is to know about you’ and determine if Stewart posed a ‘significant risk or danger ’to others in the future.

The jury’s decision drew smiles and a triumphant cry of ‘yes’ from the rape victim’s family, who were sitting in the public gallery.

The court heard Stewart’s victim and another man, had both been drinking following a night out in Exmouth.

The pair stayed at Stewart’s flat, which he shared with the pub landlord.

Stewart’s victim told the jury he had been asleep on the sofa and woke to find the 43-year-old groping him, before going on to rape him.

The victim told the court he had been ‘very vulnerable’ in his drunken state and Stewart had taken advantage of him.