A RAPIST humiliated a woman in a “degrading” sexual assault shortly after strangling a 16-year-old girl he took to isolated woodland.

John Harding from Newport was told he's a serious threat to young women before being jailed for 20 years at Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court this morning.

Judge Jeremy Jenkins said to him: “You are a danger to young women and I will go further and say that no young lady is truly safe in your company.

“You have shown not one iota of remorse.

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“You called one of your victims a liar and the other a thief, attention seeker and cocaine user.”

South Wales Argus: John Harding

Harding, aged 28, of Commercial Road, was convicted by a jury following a trial.

He was found guilty of two counts of rape, two counts of false imprisonment, two counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, assault by penetration, strangulation and making threats to kill.

Ieuan Bennett, prosecuting, told the court the defendant had previous convictions for violence against women and was jailed for an assault in 2021.

Harding physically assaulted the 16-year-old girl on two occasions last June.

The first happened when he took her to Duffryn Woods in Newport.

The defendant threw the girl to the ground, kicker her, stood on her head before strangling her until lost consciousness.

A few days later Harding lured the teenager to the city’s Fourteen Locks Canal area where he taped up her wrists, ankles and mouth.

He then threatened to kill her after taking out a pair of scissors.

“I’m quite satisfied she was absolutely terrified of you,” Judge Jenkins said.

The second set of offences against the woman took place in July 2023 after she had asked him to leave her home.

“The degree of violence and sexual degradation are deeply concerning,” the judge told him.

Kevin Seal representing Harding said: “He is an immature young man and he needs help.

“The defendant has an opportunity to receive that help within the custodial environment.

“He knows this is going to be a lengthy prison sentence.”

Harding was made the subject of indefinite restraining orders not to contact his victims.

After he was led to the cells to start his jail sentence Judge Jenkins praised both for their bravery for coming forward.