A stalker from Swanscombe found guilty of rape and controlling behaviour has been handed a 10-year sentence, Kent Police have said.

Paul Hoare, 35, from Swanscombe, will be detained in hospital under the Mental Health Act but will serve the jail term if his condition improves, in addition to a further seven years on licence, police said.

Hoare was sentenced at Woolwich Crown Court on Friday (December 17) after a jury found him guilty of two counts of rape and perverting the course of justice.

He previously admitted a charge of stalking "involving fear of violence", plus two charges of assault and controlling and coercive behaviour.

The Swanscombe man met his victim in Broomfield Park where they exchanged information.

Police said within days Hoare began behaving in a "very controlling manner", and described a number of examples including one instance where he "stalked the victim by placing a telephone under her car so he could trace her movements..."

"He also followed her and would send messages telling her he knew where she was... On one occasion he was also believed to have been hiding in bushes watching her while the victim was at her Mother’s address.

"He also assaulted her, removed her phone from her to check who she had been talking to and also stole a front door key from the victim’s address."

On several occasions that resulted in the rapes Hoare was convicted of, he demanded to stay at the victim's home and threatened her.

Investigating officer PC Daniel Goodman said: "Hoare displayed extremely concerning behaviour within days of meeting the victim. He acted aggressively and in an intimidating manner towards her, making her feel she could not seek help.

"We take reports of stalking extremely seriously and will always carry out a thorough investigation. No person should feel unsafe when they are going about their daily business.

"Hoare admitted some of the charges but he denied raping the victim which meant she had to endure a trial and I want to commend her bravery in the way she handled this which ultimately helped to bring him to justice."