Rape victim tells of horror at hands of alleyway attacker
The Clock Tower Park rape has compelled a Gloucester woman to talk to Citizen reporter Nick Webster about her own ordeal in a separate attack
RAPED on a night out, one woman hopes by bravely revealing her ordeal, more young girls will listen to police warnings over Gloucester street safety.
The woman, who we cannot name for legal reasons, felt compelled to speak out after an unconnected sex attack in Clock Tower Park, Abbeymead in May.
She talks of her shocking experience at the hands of a convicted rapist in Tewkesbury in summer 2006.
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It has left her with deep psychological scars and one she has kept from all but her closest friends.
"It was around 11.30pm but I wasn't out of my face," she said. "I went outside the pub for a cigarette and a lad was there, he asked me for a light.
"It was quite windy and I couldn't get my lighter to work, so he asked me to go into an alleyway out of the wind. That is when he raped me.
"I couldn't fight him off, I was so shaken and scared, I just ran.
"I panicked and ended up in a graveyard somewhere. I rang my best friend who was in Gloucester and told her what had happened.
"There were buttons missing off my shirt and my trousers were ripped. The police found the buttons at the scene in the alleyway."
She was taken to the rape suite at Cheltenham Police Station and examined by a doctor.
"The police took everything, all of my underwear, my shoes – everything," she said.
The other women on her night out still don't know what happened that night. She said afterwards she was so scared to leave her home.
"It took a long time to get over the psychological damage," she added. "My husband has been so supportive.
"He is so laid-back and understanding. He didn't judge me, just sat and listened about what had happened.
"If I hadn't had that support, I don't know what I would have done.
"The hardest thing was trying to hide it from my children.
"I never go out by myself at night, I know safety could be improved in Gloucester.
"When I was raped, there was a CCTV camera nearby, but it was facing in the opposite direction."
She said she had blanked out the man's face.
"I can't stand stubble as it brings it all back, I hate it when my husband hasn't shaved," she said. "I get flashbacks. Even now, years later, it is still in my mind.
"I want girls to be more aware. They should always stick together. Girls will go out and get drunk, but they must never go wandering off alone.
"Pubs or clubs can book a taxi. Some people will use any excuse to try and get you alone.
"My experience has made me stronger, but it doesn't matter where you are – young girls are vulnerable at night."
No-one was ever convicted for her attack.
Gloucestershire police said it has one of the most successful records for rape convictions, with no-crimes at just 2.4 per cent.
Detective Chief Inspector Marc Flannery said: "Gloucestershire police takes all allegations of rape extremely seriously and would encourage anyone who has been a victim to come forward.
"Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary recently reviewed the force's investigation into rape cases and deemed we were one of the best in the country.
"The constabulary strives to secure and present the best possible evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service before it decides if it is sufficient for charges to be brought.
"The one thing I would urge is that victims report any case of rape at the first possible opportunity.
"It gives us the greatest chance of securing all forms of evidence including forensic, witness and CCTV evidence, which can be the key to securing a conviction at court."
Follow Nick on Twitter: @TheCitizenNick