Man gave teenage girl drugs before raping her in nightclub kitchen
A man who gave a teenage girl drugs before raping her in a nightclub has been jailed.
Martin Sweeney, who also goes by Matt, gave the victim - who was 17 at the time - the drugs at the former Main Entrance nightclub in Blackpool.
They left the nightclub when it closed and Sweeney took her to a hotel to rent a room where they could carry on drinking with other members of the group they were with.
When that failed he then took her back to The Main Entrance in a car. During the journey Sweeney gave the victim a tablet containing an unknown substance.
When they went into the kitchen of the nightclub Sweeney raped her as she pleaded with him to stop.
The next thing she remembered was waking up in bed with Sweeney at his house in the Thornton area with no idea how she got there.
The offence happened in the late 1990s but has had a significant impact on the victim, who suffered with flashbacks.
She told her husband what had happened in 2004 and he tracked down Sweeney.
A confrontation happened between the pair over the phone in early 2020 and following that the victim disclosed what had happened to the police.
Sweeney, 48, of no fixed address was interviewed and subsequently charged with rape.
Following a trial at Preston Crown Court earlier this year he was found guilty of the offence.
Today (March 24) he was jailed for seven years and ordered to sign the sex offenders register for life. He will have to serve two thirds of his sentence before being considered for parole.
Dave Hindle, of Lancashire Police, said: “Sweeney is a manipulative individual who plied his victim with drugs before raping her. Even though he knew full well what he had done, he caused further distress to the victim by making her relive her ordeal by running a trial.
“I want to praise the victim for the bravery and strength she has shown throughout the judicial process. This offence has clearly had a long-lasting impact on her and I hope knowing the man responsible is now in prison will bring her some form of closure.
“I also hope this case and it’s outcome will encourage other victims of such appalling crimes to come forward – no matter how long ago it happened – knowing that they will be listened to, believed and that we will do everything in our power to put the perpetrator before the courts.”