A 25-year-old man has been jailed for three years and nine months at Bristol Crown Court today (Tuesday 20 October) after admitting raping a woman following a party.
Michael Stephen Smith, of High Street, Bitton, attempted to have sex with the victim while she was asleep following a party on 26 August 2017. The victim woke up and made it clear she didn’t want to have sex, but Smith went on to rape her.
He was so concerned the victim would report him to the police, he called first to claim she was harassing him by making false allegations that he’d sexually assaulted her.
In a statement read during the sentencing hearing, the victim described how she’d been left in a state of disbelief by the rape and didn’t want to accept what had happened to her.
She wrote: “Being raped has left me isolated from the world, like no-one understood how I was feeling. I don’t want to address what happened to me, so I feel more comfortable putting on a brave face or putting my head in the sand.
“After a little while, I couldn’t forget about it and I eventually admitted to myself what he’d actually done to me….I then started to feel a mixture of emotions. I initially felt numb, like I had no feelings within myself, I just didn’t care about anything. I then felt ashamed and guilty for allowing it to happen to myself.”
She added: “I do feel now the criminal justice process is over, I feel more positive about speaking about this and I will be seeking support because I cannot continue in the way which this has impacted on me.”
Investigating officer Carl Spicer said: “As well as calling the police to claim the victim was making false allegations against him, Michael Smith also confided to colleagues that he was concerned the victim would report him. His colleagues were so concerned at what he’d disclosed, they also contacted the police.
“We contacted the victim, who confirmed what happened to her. After being arrested, Smith told officers the sex was consensual and claimed the conversation he’d had with colleagues had been “misinterpreted”.
“His mobile phone was seized which provided evidence of his admissions to the offence, as well as unrelated videos classified as extreme pornography.
“Due to the weight of evidence against him, he admitted one count of rape and four counts of possessing an extreme pornographic image at an earlier court hearing.
“We’d like to commend the absolute bravery of the victim in disclosing to us the awful events of that night, for trusting us to seek justice for her, and for engaging with the criminal justice process. Without her unfaltering support, it’s unlikely that Smith would have appeared before a court for his offending.
“Investigations such as this are always challenging, but we welcome the custodial sentence given to Smith today and hope this gives other victims of rape and sexual assault the confidence to come forward.”
If you’ve been a victim of sexual abuse, recent or non-recent, you don’t have to speak to the police. You can self-refer to The Bridge, a Sexual Assault Referral Centre available 24/7 365 days a year. You can contact The Bridge online or call 0117 342 6999.