Copyright Ben Lack Photography LtdBiophysicist Joseph McKeown with a ???brilliant academic mind??? who has been jailed for five and a half years for rape. Words Mark ListerPic Ben Lack +7970 850611??150 minimum use, irrespective of any previous use. ??50 for internet use, irrespective of any previous use.
Joseph McKeown, 23, ignored ‘persistent’ demands to stop from the woman (Picture: Ben Lack Photography Ltd)

An aspiring physicist who raped a woman and left her contemplating suicide has been jailed.

Joseph McKeown, 23, was hoping to start a PhD in biophysics at the University of York and was described as having a ‘brilliant academic mind’, a court heard.

He has now been sentenced to five and a half years for raping and sexually assaulting his victim.

The woman told the court she had come close to taking her life as a result of his actions.

In a personal statement she said: ‘Both the pain and anger that I felt then, I feel now, but more intensely. They are not subsiding and I feel almost powerless.’

McKeown’s barrister Julian Goode said the defendant had the potential to do ‘incredibly important work that will assist the public generally’.

He also highlighted his references from York academics, who ‘support’ him returning to university post release.

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Mr Goode added: ‘It is however, not their decision.’

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Sentencing McKeown, Judge Simon Hickey said: ‘This was persistent. She made it quite clear on a number of occasions she didn’t want it and you persisted.’

The physicist must also sign the sex offenders’ register for life and is banned from ever working with vulnerable people or contacting the victim in any way.

A University of York spokesman said: ‘For safeguarding and duty of care reasons, the university requires prospective students to disclose any unspent criminal convictions so it can assess whether admission can be granted.

‘The university reserves the right to cancel or withdraw admission upon disclosure of such convictions. The safety and wellbeing of our staff and students is of paramount importance.’

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