Victim’s bravery helped to convict County Durham ‘high risk’ rapist

Detectives have praised a victim for her stoicism coming forward to report her rapist in the face of pressure not to do so.

As reported by The Northern Echo earlier this week, the 18-year-old was attacked by high-risk sex offender Callum Smith in May last year when he barged into her home knowing she was alone.

It was not the first time the 45-year-old offender had raped a woman, having received a seven year sentence for a similar attack, also on an 18-year-old woman, in 2013.

The victim was initially frightened to report the crime due to being pressured by Smith but after engaging with officers, bravely supported the investigation.

Read more: County Durham rapist poses ‘high risk’ of sexual harm to women

Smith, of Church Street, Seaham, denied the attack and stood trial at Durham Crown Court where jurors were told how the attack had left the victim with flashbacks and needing medication for depression.

As a result of the attack, she was also forced to give up her job and struggles to leave the house, but now would like to move from her home area.

Smith was found guilty of rape a week into the trial and, as he is considered to pose a “high risk” of serious sexual harm to women, he was given an extended determinate sentence.

It carries a 13-year custodial element, with a five-year extended license period, meaning he must serve at least two-thirds of the prison term before being eligible for release, but only at the consent of the Parole Board, and he may have to spend the full 13 years behind bars.

Smith was also made subject of a lifetime Sexual Harm Prevention Order which states he is forbidden from engaging in sexual activity with a woman unless “appropriate notification” is given to the individual or an offender manager.

He will also be registered as a sex offender for life.

The judge put in place a lifetime restraining order forbidding future contact or approaches to the victim.

Speaking since the sentence was passed, Detective Constable Ben Cloke, of Durham Police, who led the investigation, said: “Smith knew exactly what he was doing when he targeted this vulnerable woman, and we cannot praise her enough for having the courage to come forward and work with us to bring him to justice.

“We hope this sentence gives her some comfort and helps her to start to heal in the knowledge he is back behind bars.”

Read more: Durham Crown Court pilots courtroom protections for rape victims

He urged anyone who has been the victim of a sexual offense to report it, by either calling 999 or 101.

Victims can also receive support at the force’s specialist hub, The Meadows Sexual Assault Referral Centre, which is free and available to both men and women.

The Meadows has forensic medical examination facilities and offers advice and support, counseling and support, counseling and sexual health screening with the aim of providing help as soon as the victim feels ready, whether they wish to report the assault to the police or not.

Should the victim also want to make a report to the police, they will be helped to do so.

The Meadows is situated about four miles from Durham city centre, with another similar smaller premises in Darlington town centre.

Both can be reached by visiting www.themeadowsdurham.org.uk, or by calling (03333) 448283, or 0191-375 2933.

Read next:

* Courtroom protections for rape victims brought in at Teesside Crown Court

* Darlington and County Durham Rape crisis center calls for greater victim support

* Four County Durham criminals hauled before Durham Crown Court last week

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