Man jailed for 23 years over horrific drugging and raping of three men from Grindr

A man has been jailed for 23 years after drugging four men he met on gay dating app Grindr – and raping three of them.

Sam Ashley, an insurance worker, was close to tears as a judge sentenced over him at Portsmouth Crown Court today, reports regional newspaper The News.

The 30-year-old carried out the rapes on three different men during a horrific six-month sex attack spree in 2016.

The court heard how Ashley had told some of his victims that he had terminal colon cancer, in a bid to get their sympathy.

Ashley was convicted of drugging and twice raping a university student he had met on the dating up to go jogging with, as well as raping and drugging another man he met for a threesome, who took what Ashley had told him was paracetamol for a headache.

He was also sentenced for raping – and trying to rape a further two times – a man with HIV, who he drugged with GHB, and drugging another man who awoke to see “a number of sex toys on the bed” with Ashley.

Grindr (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Ashley met all of his victims on gay dating app Grindr (Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Ashley had laced one of his victim’s cup of tea with a drug, gave diazepam to another man, and drove a third victim to his former-home in North End so that he could rape him.

Prosecutor Robert Bryan also said that Ashley’s use of date-rape drug GHB “could have killed” the man with HIV, because of the combination of the substance with his medication.

Ashley has been banned from using Grindr and from having a sexual relationship without informing police under the conditions of a sexual harm prevention order.

He appeared in the court from police custody, having broken the terms of his bail.

Judge David Melville told Ashley in court: “You made every step which was needed, so far as you saw it, in your warped way of thinking in order to overcome their reluctance and allow you to get up close when their barriers were down.

“There’s a pattern of behaviour here – it’s dangerous in my judgment.”

Portsmouth Crown Court (Basher Eyre)

Melville continued: “There you are, just imagine, you found it possible to get those drugs, you used them when you wanted to on innocent victims, one of whom was already seriously ill.

“You took serious advantage of them and of course that was repeated on four occasions, all put into effect to make it easy for your by the use of the Grindr website, an easy way to meet those in the gay community.

“And of course if you met with reluctance you had a wheeze, a final one – you told them you were dying of cancer.”

He added: “This was calculated behaviour, it was deliberate and awful.”

James Stewart, detective inspector at Hampshire police, said outside court: “Samuel Ashley is a dangerous, calculating and manipulative individual who committed some of the most serious offences against multiple victims.

Grindr (Leon Neal/Getty Images)

(Leon Neal/Getty Images)

“Today he has been jailed for a significant period of time and the community is a safer place.”

William Mousley, QC for Ashley, said that “triggers” for Ashley’s crimes included the breakdown of his civil praetorship, bullying at work, anxiety, and “undoubtedly significant events in Sam Ashley’s childhood which had never been confronted.”

Mousley added: “The combination of those various factors and the stresses that they brought may well provide an explanation for why he had behaved in the way he did in that period of six months in 2016.

“We submit that those combination of factors are unlikely to recur in his life.”

“We submit that at the age of 30, while of course he will receive a lengthy term of imprisonment, he is someone who could be rehabilitated.”

He said that Ashley should “at the appropriate time…be able to take steps to rebuild the life that has been shattered as a result of his offending.”

The judge reportedly considered giving Ashley a life sentence, before deciding on 23 years.