*Hat Tip: Phillipi King
A young mother was raped in a room next door to her children after her attacker followed her on a dog walk and forced his way into her home. John Ward, 24, first approached his victim as she walked with her child and family dog just after 8.50am. He then sexually assaulted her, before telling the child: ‘I’m your new dad’. The woman then fled the scene, but moments later Ward arrived at her home with his accomplice Aaron Farrell, 24. He then forced his way into the property and raped her on the stairs while shutting the children in the living room, Manchester Crown Court heard. One of the children could be heard screaming for Ward to ‘get off’ their mother as she was attacked in the hallway, causing him to hold the door shut and tell them ‘I’m just talking to your mom’, the court was told.
Prosecutor Michael Lavery described the case as ‘quite shocking’. He described how Ward and Farrell had been ‘very much the worse for drink’ when they spoke to their victim during her walk, calling her a ‘milf’ and asking if she was single. Ward, who was also high on cocaine, asked for a kiss and the woman refused. The pair then continually harassed her until she gave Ward a peck on the cheek ‘hoping to appease him in order to allow her to escape their attention’, Mr Lavery said. Ward then turned his face and kissed her ‘full on the mouth’, before telling her child: ‘I’m your new dad’. Ward’s behavior then ‘escalated’ and he showed the woman his penis and asked: ‘Do you want it?’, the court was told. She then fled the scene, but shortly after arriving home she saw the two men ‘peering’ through her windows. The two men first forced entry into her home, but left when she shouted at them to get out. They then later returned and Ward barged through her front door when she opened it thinking it was someone else.
Mr Lavery described the victim’s ‘panicked and upset’ children as ‘by now hysterical’. Ward shut them in the lounge and told his victim he ‘fancied the fuck out of her’, before forcing himself on her and raping her on the stairs. The prosecutor went on: ‘[The victim] described that she couldn’t scream or shout or do anything and that she felt completely numb. She told the police that all she could hear was her children screaming for her and her not being able to get to them.’ Farrell was caught on CCTV looking through the window and watching Ward rape the victim, before closing the door and wiping the handle for fingerprints, the court heard. The sex terrorists then escaped, leaving the woman ‘on the stairs in a state of panic unable even to comfort her children who were hysterical’, Mr Lavery said. She then called her family, who phoned the police, and moved out of the property that day. In a victim impact statement read out in court, she said: ‘These two men destroyed any peace of mind I had. They caused me so much trauma and distress and I moved out with my children because I could not face going back there after what happened.
‘I would never be able to walk back into that house again without revisiting the events of that day. I would never be able to settle without flinching at the sound of somebody at the door.’ She continued: ‘I have been through such a desperate time and had suicidal thoughts which have subsided now, but only with the help of my friends and family who have supported me through my lowest moments. ‘I have problems sleeping and frequently have flashbacks. Night-time can be really difficult when the children have gone to bed and the house is silent – leaving me alone with my thoughts. ‘I am nervous to go out and am constantly watching my back, afraid when someone walks up behind me. Even though I know the men are in prison I still panic when I see anyone who resembles them and I have to walk in a different direction to get away.’
Ward, of Rochdale, pleaded guilty to sexual assault and two counts of rape. He was jailed for 12 years with extended licence period of four years and placed on the sex offenders’ register. Farrell, Parkfield, Middleton, was jailed for one year and nine months after he admitted perverting the course of justice. He was told he would be released half way through his sentence.
Jailing Ward, Judge John Potter said the victim had suffered ‘severe psychological harm’ while it was likely her children ‘will suffer trauma as a consequence of these events for many years to come and perhaps for the rest of their lives’. He continued: ‘[The victim] was terrified not just not just by this appalling sexual abuse of her by you but by her helplessness and powerlessness to break free from your grip and protect herself and her children. ‘The trauma and anguish that she must have experienced at this time is hardly imaginable. You treated your victim in this manner as an object to satisfy your wicked, evil sexual desires.’