A “DANGEROUS” Oldbury man who brutally raped a terrified young mother on a canal towpath on Valentine's Day has been locked up for 12 years.

Luke Reynolds used a false name when he met the woman and after they exchanged text messages he took her to a secluded spot where he threw her to the floor and carried out the savage sex attack.

Judge Barry Berlin told the 27-year-old it was clear he posed a significant risk of causing harm to women and young girls after hearing how he also tried to have sex with a 15-year-old schoolgirl after taking her back to his flat.

He added Reynolds had a catalogue of previous convictions including five offences of robbery against women and said: “You thrive on the power you feel you have over women for your own personal gratification.”

The judge said the rape victim was a frail young woman and added: “She was someone who was very easily overpowered and you did just that. It was an offence that took a significant degree of planning and grooming.”

Members of the public had to be protected, he said, as he ruled Reynolds would only be released from custody and allowed back on the streets when he was deemed to be safe.

He said the rape victim – who he met near the Sandwell and Dudley railway station – had suffered severe psychological harm as a result of the rape.

“She was trying to get away,” said the judge. “She kept telling you to stop but you would not listen. You pushed her to the ground onto rocks. She was terrified.”

Afterwards she was distressed and ran from the scene as Reynolds told her no-one would believe what had happened, but she went to the police and after Reynolds was arrested his DNA was found on her clothing.

Reynolds, of Green Street, had denied raping the woman, but he was found guilty by a jury after they retired to consider the evidence at the end of his six day trial.

He pleaded guilty to sexual activity with a child, escaping from police custody and cruelty to a child, and he was further told by the judge he must register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

“I watched you during the rape trial and you showed a complete disregard for the harm you caused,” said the judge at Wolverhampton Crown Court.

Tariq Shakoor, prosecuting, said after the rape Reynolds sent the young mother a string of text messages telling her not to go to the police.

In a victim impact statement, the young mother told officers that after the attack she felt “ruined and damaged”, and said: “I don't think I will ever get over it. I was so scared.”

She said at one stage she had contemplated suicide because she felt “violated and abused”, adding: “For him it was just sex but it has ruined my life.”

Simon Hanns, defending Reynolds – who has served four years for the robberies – said initially what took place between him and the young mother had been consensual but “it swiftly got out of hand”.

Alongside Reynolds’ child cruelty charge, Sian Williams, aged 19, of Green Street, Oldbury, also admitted cruelty to a child and she was jailed for seven months by the judge.