A Boots pharmacy team has been praised for helping to put a rapist behind bars, through the Safe Spaces scheme.

The team, based in West Denton in Newcastle, provided the victim with ‘empathy and support’ to help her feel safe and called the police with her consent.

According to Northumbria Police, the victim was initially too frightened to report the crime to police herself, so visited her local Boots knowing she could seek help through the Safe Space scheme.

The scheme, set up by the domestic abuse charity Hestia over the pandemic, uses Boots’ consultation rooms as Safe Spaces which victims can use to call up various helplines if in need of assistance.

After calling the police, the victim was taken by officers to safety and an investigation was launched by Northumbria Police's Safeguarding unit.

Michael Henderson was later found guilty of rape and was sentenced to 6 years in prison at Newcastle Crown Court last week (11 March), according to a police statement.

Detective Constable Victoria Threadgold, who led the investigation, praised the smart thinking and bravery of the victim reporting it at a Safe Space and the pharmacy team.

Det Con Threadgold said: ‘This victim has suffered the most awful sexual violence and I can't commend her enough for coming forward to report to a Safe Space.

‘I also really want to praise the staff at the Boots pharmacy where the victim initially reported the rape. It is testament to their specialist training, empathy and support that she has had the strength to speak out.’

Mr Henderson of Bamburgh Walk, Gosforth, will also have to sign the sex offenders’ register for life and has been handed an indefinite restraining order.