Breaking news: Dagenham “golden gun” rape case collapses

A thug was acquitted today of raping a Dagenham woman while threatening her with a gold pistol after prosecution witnesses failed to turn up at court.

Wayne O’Connell, 34, admitted battering the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, at her home but was found not guilty of firearm and rape charges.

Judge Tudor Owen ordered the verdicts be entered at Snaresbrook Crown Court after prosecutors withdrew the charges following the collapse of O’Connell’s trial earlier this year.

The case was halted after prosecution witnesses failed to attend court to give evidence about the incident.

O’Connell, who has a string of previous convictions including robbery, burglary and assault, had already served eight months in jail on remand.

Judge Owen handed O’Connell 18 months’ community supervision and ordered he attend anger management classes.

O’Connell was also ordered to obey a five-year restraining order, banning him from harassing his victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, and her family.