Rapist jailed after victim reports attack to Boots staff
A man has been sentenced to six years in prison for rape after a woman he attacked reported the incident to her local branch of Boots.
Michael Henderson, 39, attacked and raped his victim at her home in 2019 but denied it during questioning by police. He was convicted at Newcastle Crown Court in December last year.
The victim told staff in the Boots branch in West Denton, Newcastle, about the attack the day after it occurred having been too scared to report it to police. Staff provided her with support and, with her consent, reported the attack to Northumbria Police.
Around 2,300 Boots stores and more than 250 independents across the UK are involved in the codeword scheme Ask for ANI which allows victims to indicate discreetly in pharmacies that they need help such as accessing other support services or contacting the police without their abusers' knowledge.
Detective Constable Victoria Threadgold, who led the investigation, paid tribute to the “quick-thinking and incredible bravery” of the victim who she said had “suffered the most awful sexual violence.”
“I also really want to praise the staff at the Boots pharmacy where the victim initially reported the rape. It is testament to their specialist training, empathy and support that she has had the strength to speak out,” Detective Constable Threadgold said.