A MAN who raped his girlfriend in his car after she rejected his advances has been jailed for three and a half years.

The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had denied committing the offence at the end of August 2016 when he was aged 18, but was convicted following a trial at Bolton Crown Court.

Paul Bentley, prosecuting, said the man had been in a relationship with his girlfriend for several months and on the evening of the rape they had gone, in his car, to Moses Gate Country Park.

The court heard that after his advances were rejected and the girl fell asleep, the youth climbed out of the driver's seat, clambered on top of her and raped her.

During the attack she woke up but, feeling scared, feigned sleep and then asked her boyfriend to drive her home.

The court heard that the girl become suspicious of her boyfriend and so, while she was away on holiday, set up a fake Facebook profile see whether he would contact other women. Before the trip to Moses Gate she found out that he had contacted the fake profile and so rebuffed him.

“She didn’t want to return to the sexual relationship until she could trust him," said Mr Bentley.

After the rape the teenager sent his victim dramatic messages saying he should "not have been on this planet” and suggesting that he wanted to commit suicide.

Nicola Gatto, defending, stressed that the defendant had consensual sexual intercourse with his girlfriend both before and after the raping her.

She was said to have been keen to rekindle the relationship but, on finding out that another woman was expecting his baby, the relationship ended.

The rape victim then told her father about the attack, showed him her former boyfriend's texts expressing remorse and police were contacted.

Miss Gatto said that when the defendant's girlfriend had previously rebuffed his advances he had always respected her decision.

“Whatever went on that night was out of character with this young man,” she said.

Sentencing the man, Judge Richard Gioserano told him: “In early 2016 your relationship with your girlfriend developed quickly but that was no excuse for what you did.

“Whatever the nature of the relationship, a woman is entitled to refuse sexual intercourse and any man that does not respect that must face a custodial sentence.

“You believed she was asleep and you had sexual intercourse with her for your own sexual gratification.”

In addition to the jail sentence the man was placed on the sex offenders' register for life.