A MAN who used Facebook Marketplace to meet a woman before sexually assaulting her has been jailed.

Zackery Stephen Bell attended an address of a woman in her 20s in relation to an advert that had appeared on the social media site.

Once inside the property, the 28-year-old forcibly kissed the woman and touched her inappropriately over her clothing.

He was then disturbed and left the address, before sending her a message via Facebook asking her to meet up again.

The incident in December 2020, was reported to police the next day and an investigation was launched, leading to the arrest of Bell.

He was later charged with sexual assault.

While on bail, Bell went to stay with a woman known to him in Chichester.

He was supposed to be staying on the sofa but in the early hours of Boxing Day, he went into her bedroom while she was asleep and sexually assaulted her.

This awoke the victim who shouted at him to leave.

At Portsmouth Crown Court, Bell was sentenced to a total of six years in prison.

He received two years for the first incident, which happened in Waterlooville, Hampshire, and four for the Chichester incident.

The Argus: Zackery Stephen Bell, of South Avenue, Portsmouth Zackery Stephen Bell, of South Avenue, Portsmouth

​Detective Constable Keeka Crewe-Way said the incidents were “extremely traumatic” for the women involved.

“I cannot commend them enough for their courage and bravery in coming forward and telling us what happened, and for their strength throughout the criminal justice process,” she said.

“We know it’s incredibly difficult for people to report incidents of this nature but with the help of these women we were able to secure a guilty plea/conviction and bring this man to justice.

“Online marketplaces are very popular for buying and selling in today’s digital age and people should be able to use these safely, without the risk of people like Bell taking advantage of them.

"I hope that this sentence helps these women gain some form of closure and be able to start to move on with their lives.”

Bell, of South Avenue, Portsmouth, was also given a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for ten years, and a lifetime Restraining Order relating to both victims.

He will also be on the sex offender register for life.

Detective Constable Jason Berney, of the West Sussex safegurding investigations unit, said: "It took the victim a great deal of courage to come forward and report, as Bell was known to her, and it was a very distressing predicament for her.

"However she did this and he was successfully convicted which is great testament to her resolution.

"In addition to this, she then had to cope with the fact that Bell went on the run for a period of time, but he was tracked down by myself which led to his being located and arrested."