In­truder in my bed

A teenager broke in and sav­agely at­tacked me as I slept in bed

Chat - - Inside - By Becky Chap­lin, 21, from Ash­ing­ton, Northum­ber­land

Ex­cited, I packed all my things into boxes.

‘I’ll miss you,’ my mum Melanie, 44, said to me with a sigh. It was May 2016, and I’d just got my own flat. ‘I’m not go­ing far,’ I smiled. At 20, I’d been work­ing hard as a sales as­sis­tant.

I’d miss mum, too, but she was happy for me, help­ing me to dec­o­rate my new place.

I loved my in­de­pen­dence, work­ing hard, hav­ing fun – and of­ten had mates stay­ing over.

One night in July 2017, a few of us went to a pub quiz. At 11pm, my friend dropped me home.

I ran up the stairs, turned on the kitchen light and waved from the win­dow to let her know ev­ery­thing was OK.

Putting on my py­ja­mas and switch­ing on the TV, I snug­gled up bed. By 11.30pm, I’d fallen asleep.

An hour later, I woke with a start. Some­thing sharp was dig­ging into my throat, tight­en­ing around my neck.

Was it a night­mare?

No, I could feel a male body press­ing up against me.

I froze with fear, chok­ing, un­able to breathe. I felt his hot breath in my ear. Then I blacked out. When I came round, I was strug­gling to breathe, ly­ing on the floor with him still on top of me – rap­ing me.

Hor­ri­fied, I tried to push him off, but he held down my hands and arms. I kicked out with my bare feet, but he wouldn’t stop.

In the dark­ness, I couldn’t see his face and, even­tu­ally, he got up and walked out.

Ly­ing on the floor, I was paral­ysed with fear. I could hear him in my kitchen, rat­tling around in the cup­boards.

He’s look­ing for a knife,

I thought, pet­ri­fied. I had to act now to save my life.

Adrenalin pump­ing, I man­aged to pull my­self up and grabbed my phone from the bed­side table. I could barely stop my hands shak­ing to dial 999.

‘Please!’ I sobbed. ‘He’s go­ing to kill me!’

The op­er­a­tor took my name and ad­dress but then, to my hor­ror, my at­tacker crept back in.

Dressed in grey sweat­pants and hoodie, wear­ing train­ers, he didn’t look at me as I stood there shak­ing.

He started kick­ing the du­vet, look­ing around the floor. I was ter­ri­fied he’d come back to kill me.

But sud­denly, he found what he was look­ing for – a piece of ca­ble he’d used to choke me.

He grabbed it and then fled. I heard him open my kitchen win­dow and jump out, land­ing on the flat roof be­low.

I re­alised he must’ve stood on the wheelie bin to climb the 10ft up.

I’d left the win­dow ajar be­cause it’d been hot. I’d had no idea that any­one could open it from the out­side.

I lay on my bed in shock, clutch­ing my phone.

Min­utes later, the po­lice were bang­ing on my front door.

‘Any­one there?’ an of­fi­cer called out – but I was too scared to move.

Even­tu­ally, the po­lice kicked down the door and a fe­male of­fi­cer waited with me, while of­fi­cers searched the flat.

‘He’s gone now,’ she re­as­sured me.

They took me to my mum’s.

‘What hap­pened?’ she cried.

I broke down, just couldn’t speak. The of­fi­cers told Mum ev­ery­thing.

Dis­traught, she tried to hug me, but I flinched.

I couldn’t stand be­ing touched by any­one, even Mum.

I had DNA swabs taken and made a state­ment. Then the po­lice drove me to hos­pi­tal.

It was only then that I re­alised how much pain I was in.

Bat­tered and bruised, my mouth was swollen and the blood ves­sels in both of my eyes had burst.

I had two black eyes, could barely swal­low.

The po­lice launched a man­hunt for my at­tacker.

I stayed at Mum’s, know­ing that I could never live in my flat again.

A week later, the po­lice had shock­ing news.

‘We’ve ar­rested and charged a teenager,’ said the of­fi­cer. ‘He’s 16.’ I was stunned, hu­mil­i­ated. ‘A kid did this to me?’ I cried. The po­lice said that he’d been watch­ing my flat for days

A pro­ba­tion re­port said he had a ‘trou­bled’ life...

be­fore he pounced on me.

His saliva was found on my py­ja­mas.

Last Septem­ber, at New­cas­tle Crown Court, my at­tacker pleaded guilty to rape.

A pro­ba­tion re­port said he had a ‘trou­bled’ life, while a psy­chi­atric re­port said he had a bor­der­line per­son­al­ity dis­or­der.

But I had no sym­pa­thy for him. A lot of peo­ple have prob­lems – but they don’t do what he did.

Plus he al­ready had pre­vi­ous con­vic­tions for bat­tery and ex­pos­ing him­self.

Sickening.

He was sen­tenced to five and a half years in prison, plus an ex­tra two years on li­cence, later ex­tended to five. But the judge ruled he shouldn’t be named pub­licly be­cause of his age. I was dis­gusted. I’m still trau­ma­tised and strug­gling to cope with my ter­ri­fy­ing or­deal. I’ve been hav­ing coun­selling through The Reach Cen­tre in New­cas­tle and Rape Cri­sis. I’ll have to deal with what hap­pened that night for the rest of my life. Yet he gets to re­main anony­mous? ‘It’s not right,’ I sobbed to Mum. The courts shouldn’t pro­tect a rapist, no mat­ter what his age. He com­mit­ted a man’s crime and should be treated like a grown man. There’s noth­ing shame­ful about be­ing raped – vic­tims should feel able speak out. My at­tacker should be ashamed, though – and he de­serves to be named. Ev­ery­one should know what kind of mon­ster he is.

In­juries to my neck… …and eyes

Trau­ma­tised I feel so strongly, have to speak out

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