Raped at Knifepoint
Help catch that sex beast
As my best pal Debbie and I made our way back to the stables, I couldn’t stop giggling.
‘You definitely fancy him,’ I teased her, chatting about a boy at school.
It was a sunny evening in May 1982. Both aged 15, Debbie and I were horse lovers, even had our own.
Most nights after school, we’d trot around the local fields – Debbie on her horse and me on mine, Beauty.
I loved it – and all of our silly schoolgirl chats!
After our ride, Debbie and I walked to a footpath, then we parted ways.
The path was right near a main road and lots of kids used it on their way home from school.
‘See you at school tomorrow,’ Debbie said, waving as she walked off.
I headed down the path, but then I suddenly realised that there was a man in front of me.
‘Excuse me, do you know when the next bus is?’ he asked me.
‘Not for another 10 minutes,’ I replied.
He thanked me and I carried on walking down the path, thinking nothing of it.
But my life was about to change forever…
I felt a strong arm grab me from behind.
I tried to scream, but the man held a knife to my throat.
As he pushed the cold metal against my skin, I froze.
‘If you want to live, you’d better do as you’re told,’ he hissed in my ear. I was shaking with terror. The man made me walk to a secluded area 100 yards away, where he had some shopping bags hidden.
Then I realised that my attacker must’ve actually been lying in wait for someone to come along. He’s going to chop me up and put me in those shopping bags, I thought, absolutely petrified.
The man ordered me to take off my jeans and lie on the floor. Petrified, I did as I was told. Next, he unzipped his trousers and lay on top of me, with the knife just inches from my face.
As he raped me, I felt as if I was floating above my body, watching what was happening.
It was like a nightmare, as if
it wasn’t really happening.
I’ve got to do whatever it takes to survive, I told myself.
Somehow, despite the horrendous ordeal, I knew that I needed to memorise everything I could about my rapist.
It’ll help the police to catch him, I thought.
So I studied his face, his clothes, even his grubby fingernails…
The man was pale-faced, about 5ft 6in tall and aged about 25 to 30.
He had fair, straight hair parted on the left, a full, blond beard and a barely noticeable moustache.
He also wore square gold-rimmed glasses.
My ordeal seemed to go on forever.
But finally, after 20 minutes, it was over.
‘If I let you go, how do I know you’re not going to say anything?’ he asked.
‘I won’t tell anyone,’ I lied. ‘My dad is really strict. I’d get in trouble if he found out.’
I just told him what he wanted to hear and it worked. ‘Good,’ he smirked. I felt sick, but so relieved that it was all over.
Then, before he walked away, he turned to me.
‘I’ve ruined your life now, haven’t I?’ he asked me. ‘Yes,’ I replied quietly. With my rapist gone from view, I ran as fast as I could to the main road, feeling sick. Everything was a blur.
Has that really just happened?
At that moment, I bumped into one of my school friends.
She could see the state I was in and took me to her house. ‘What’s wrong?’ she asked. ‘I was raped!’ I sobbed. Her mum called my parents and the police.
When my mum arrived, she just hugged me tightly, devastated by what’d happened.
But Dad was furious and tortured himself that he wasn’t there to protect me.
When the police came, they made me go back to the scene.
‘This is where it happened,’ I said, a lump in my throat.
Then I gave my statement at the police station and recounted every last detail that I could remember about my attacker.
Police compiled an e-fit of the man from my description.
‘Don’t worry – we’ll find him,’ an officer reassured me.
Back at home, I just felt numb, shaken and terrified.
Mum and Dad just didn’t know what to say to me.
It was too upsetting for any of us to talk about, so we didn’t.
After that, I seemed to retreat into myself. I was too scared to go to school and refused to go out alone.
‘What if he finds me?’ I sobbed brokenly to Mum.
The happy-go-lucky schoolgirl that I’d been before the attack had gone.
I cut myself off from my friends and only left the house when I was with Mum or Dad.
I didn’t even have the confidence to ride my horse Beauty again.
As time passed, the police were still no closer to finding my rapist.
And, eventually, the case went cold…
The happygo-lucky schoolgirl that I’d been had gone
There was no choice but to start getting on with my life.
So, at 17, I got a job in a factory cafe. But I still found it hard to socialise. I was just so nervous and jumpy.
Then, in my 20s, I reconnected with an old childhood friend.
‘I was raped when I was 15,’ I confided in him.
He was so supportive. I felt I could trust him.
Aged 24, we tied the knot.
And, in November 1992, we had our first daughter, shortly followed by a second girl in June 1994.
But, as the girls grew up, my fear resurfaced. I insisted on driving them everywhere, was always checking up on them.
They didn’t know about the attack, couldn’t understand my controlling behaviour. In the end, my GP prescribed me antidepressants.
But I couldn’t sleep and was still tormented by visions of my attacker.
He was still out there – somewhere.
Sadly, my marriage broke down and we separated.
As I dealt with my divorce, an old friend – Simon – really helped me. We grew close and then married in 2009.
I still suffered terrible flashbacks, though.
Eventually, in 2013, I was diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder.
‘You lost control over your body when you were raped and you’ve been trying to get back that feeling of control ever since,’ my doctor said. It made sense. Shortly after, the police came to take new DNA samples in the hope of finally breaking the case.
‘We won’t give up,’ an officer told me.
I finally sat the girls down, told them what’d happened to me. ‘Oh, Mum!’ they cried, upset.
They were shocked, but finally understood why I’d been so overprotective.
It’s been 35 years, but not a day goes by when I don’t think about my rapist. He’s still out there and it makes my blood boil.
I think he’d be about 65 now.
I decided to waive my right to anonymity to help the police with a renewed appeal to catch my attacker.
I’m still hoping that someone will come forward to Dorset Police with information.
I want my attacker to be caught, so I can finally get some closure.
After raping me, he asked if he’d ruined my life. And, at the time, I thought that he had. But not any more. I’m a survivor – and I’m determined to help catch him.
I don’t care if it takes months, years or even another decade – I will get justice.
I’m a survivor – and I’m determined to help catch him
Just a child… I was only 15 when he attacked me