Rape victim issues warning to women

PUBLISHED: 10:14 12 September 2008 | UPDATED: 21:14 05 July 2010

THE victim of a “degrading” 16-hour ordeal at the hands of a vicious rapist has this week warned of the dangers of using telephone and internet chat lines.

THE victim of a “degrading” 16-hour ordeal at the hands of a vicious rapist has this week warned of the dangers of using telephone and internet chat lines.

Speaking exclusively to The Journal for the first time since her world was turned upside down and left in tatters following a horrific rape, the single mother of one revealed how she “feared for her life” during her terrifying assault.

Left with the painful flashbacks and permanent scars of a nightmare imprisonment in her home in Lowestoft, the woman - who cannot be named for legal reasons - has suffered “complete and utter physical and mental torture” ever since the violent assault on Saturday, February 16.

But this week, she sent out a message to all women, calling on them to “never meet a man on your own” and for victims of rape to fight back and contact the police.

Last month, 31-year-old Andrew Cole, of Colchester, was found guilty at Ipswich Crown Court of raping the woman. After being convicted of rape and common assault, Cole - who has suffered from bipolar manic depression and hyper mania for a number of years - was ordered by Judge Neil McKittrick to sign the sex offenders register, while the results of a full psychiatric report are sought before he is sentenced later this year.

But in the meantime his victim has been made homeless as she attempts to rebuild her confidence and get her life back on track.

Recounting the sickening incident and the terrible aftermath that she has been left with during the past seven months, she said: “I was bruised all over and have been scarred for life - these are permanent reminders. He's left me with a life sentence as I'm still getting flashbacks, am on medication and keep on having the same dream over and over again.”

And she issued a warning.

“I'd warn other people to be extremely careful,” she said. “I believe he'd planned every single second of this attack - I was a single mother, was vulnerable in that I'd have to stay in and look after my son and he was willing to come to see me.”

Now she has been left with nothing after being duped by someone she describes as having a Jeckyll and Hyde character, despite having regular conversations over the space of a year with a man who claimed to be a lawyer.

“I've lost everything and become homeless,” she admitted. “I was taking precautions, we'd been speaking for over a year and he'd never given any indication of having a mental illness - he led me down the garden path. I had a text message ready to send to a friend and had a rape alarm nearby, but as I feared for my life I did not send them off for fear of him catching me. Not doing that goes to show you can never be cautious enough,” she added.

“I would not want anyone to go through what I went through. People like this need to be stopped and I am glad that I went to the police and spoke out, and this case goes to show that these people can be convicted of rape. I would say to all women, if you want to meet a man then make sure you meet them with a friend and not go alone,” she added.

Having first made contact with Cole on a telephone chat line, the pair exchanged conversations and text messages before they met at her home in Lowestoft in February. On the fateful day, Cole contacted his victim with a text message saying he was coming to Lowestoft by taxi. When he arrived his victim engaged in consensual sex but was later raped and viciously assaulted.

As well as degrading the victim with several abusive acts, Cole would grab the single mum and bite her - leaving her covered in bruises and teeth marks. He poured a can of drink over her head, scalded her with hot tea, hit her with flowers, urinated on her living room floor, into glasses of drink, on her sofa and bedding, left excrement in the bathroom and burnt the carpet.

“He turned on all the gas in the house and set light to a toilet roll, which I had to knock out of his hands and stamp on it,” the woman revealed. “He kept on mentioning knives and other items in my house, so much so that if I did not do everything he said he wouldn't hesitate to use them.”

Her imprisonment ended when she broke free and “ran for her life,” to her friend's home - some 16 hours later.

“Going out is impossible, every beep, bang or noise I hear frightens me and I'm not the same person anymore - all of this for going on a chatline,” she said. “In some ways I have thought to myself that I wish he could've taken my life rather than having to live in fear and panic all the time - but I know that would've been awful for my family, who I would like to thank for all their support.”

Speaking about the forthcoming sentencing, which she won't be attending, the woman said: “No matter how long he gets it will not be enough.”

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