‘I will never forget my fear of death’ – rape victim tells of terrifying ordeal

Court News
Court News

THE victim of a repeat rapist has told how she feared she would die as he gripped his hands around her throat.

Shaun Elliott Paul was convicted of four charges of rape after a second trial at Durham Crown Court.

The 24-year-old of Burnip Close, Easington Colliery, had denied five charges of rape and admitted one of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

He had claimed the victim consented to sex, but admitted to police he had been responsible for injuring her.

The woman gave a victim statement through a video link, telling the court: “I was convinced Shaun would kill me.

“Shaun had his hands around my throat.

“I will never ever forget this and my fear of death.

“This will haunt me for the rest of my life.”

She added she had been left humiliated by Paul’s actions and struggled because she could not talk to anyone about what she had been through.

“After what happened to me I was just functioning,” she said.

“I lost contact with lots of my friends and didn’t know how to rebuild my friendships and I became more and more lonely.”

She also told how her injuries had impacted on her life and has been left with scars after he dragged her during one ordeal.

The court had heard during her evidence she could feel her eyes bulging from her head during the attack, where he held his hands around her neck.

She also said she felt she was not believed because she had to give evidence several times and reliving the attacks before a court had left her in “turmoil”.

But Judge Christopher Prince told her: “You thought nobody believed you, you should never have thought that.

“You are wrong because a jury did, which is clear from their unanimous verdicts.

“You have shown integrity, courage and fortitude in giving evidence and returned to court to give your victim statement and I recognise how difficult you found today.”

He added he would be writing a letter of commendation to the police officer who supported her during the case.

Paul had been due to be sentenced at the hearing, but the case was adjourned to allow for a second psychiatric report to be carried out on the orders of a judge, with one already prepared by the defence.

Judge Prince also asked for further details of aggressive incidents Paul has been involved in during his time on remand, with additional information requested from doctors who examined the victim.

Details from the probation service about whether he should be considered under the dangerous offender provisions were also to be sought.

A date for the next hearing is to be confirmed, with Paul remanded in custody.