Published: 16:20, 11 July 2014
An award-winning journalist who downloaded child sex abuse images and indulged in sordid chatroom conversations is behind bars after today being convicted of raping a woman.
A judge told Ben Leapman, who helped to expose the scandal of MPs fiddling their expenses: "You caused her humiliation, degradation, distress, pain, loss of her dignity and loss of her self-worth and self-esteem.
"You became obsessed with violence and sexual abuse of women. There was clear evidence from chat logs of your depraved behaviour. At one stage you said it had become completely out of control."
The 43-year-old former deputy news editor of the Sunday Telegraph was convicted of one specimen rape charge by an 11-1 majority and acquitted of two others.
Cambridge-educated Leapman, formerly of High Street, Eynsford, near Dartford, denied all three charges.
Judge Martin Joy adjourned sentence at Maidstone Crown Court for reports to assess dangerousness until a date to be arranged in September.
The judge lifted a Contempt of Court order after an application by KentOnline.
It had banned reporting until after the rape case of Leapman's convictions in August last year for four offences of making indecent photos of a child and four of publishing an obscene article.
He was sentenced to nine months' imprisonment - suspended for 12 months - with supervision and was ordered to complete an internet sex offender course.
His lawyer had submitted Leapman "single-handedly uncovering the scandal that hit Westminster" and "rocked the country" took its toll on him and he sought "pressure release" by getting involved in a fantasy world.
Charles Danniells-Smith, defending, added that Leapman, now of Aldebert Terrace, South Lambeth, south London, had lost everything, including his glittering career.
Following his conviction for rape, Judge Joy said of the victim, who cannot be identified: "There was complete destruction of her dignity. She was humiliated. That is the evidence she gave.
"I am satisfied there is clear evidence of severe psychological and clinical harm. Effectively, this is a man who has got a dangerous fixation who otherwise has many qualities to be admired.
"He is a distinguished person of good character. That character has, of course, been completely destroyed."
His QC Joanne Greenberg applied for bail until sentence despite conceding loss of liberty was inevitable.
But remanding Leapman in custody, Judge Joy told him: "You have been convicted on compelling evidence. It seems very obvious to me that you are a danger."
The judge said Leapman's obsession with a unnatural form of sex was "a very worrying factor" and added: "You are in reality a person with a very high and dangerous sex drive."
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