A MARRIED father-of-five who admitted raping a woman in Burnley more than two decades ago has today been jailed for six-and-a-half years.
Leslie Marshall’s attack was described as ‘the stuff of nightmares’ by the judge as he was jailed at Preston Crown Court.
The victim was walking along Briercliffe Road when she was approached by a man in the early hours on January 18, 1989.
She was forced into a car, being driven by a second man, and was taken to a secluded spot near Robin House Lane, Briercliffe.
Both men raped her on the front passenger seat, Marshall standing on guard outside the car first, before taking his turn.
Throughout her ordeal neither of the men spoke, leading the attack to be dubbed the ‘silent rape’.
The woman, who was in her early 20s at the time, was then abandoned on the country lane in darkness.
But she was able to follow a set of lights from nearby Stepping Stones Cottage and woke the occupants, screaming “I’ve been raped”.
Her second attacker has never been caught.
Prosecutor Jeremy Lasker said that Marshall, from Glasgow, had been 30 and living in Burnley at the time of the offence.
He was arrested last year after a sample given from an unconnected incident gave a DNA match.
Farrhat Arshad, for Marshall, said his wife and five children, of which one son was in court, were still supporting him.
She said that Marshall suffered headaches and ‘self-medicates’ with 100 painkillers a day.
Ms Arshad added: “He could not hide from these matters any more.
“His physical problems are partly a response to the fact he knew he had done something very wrong.”
Speaking after the case, his victim, a mum-of-two, said she hoped the jailing of her attacker would finally end her ‘faceless nightmares’.
Now in her 40s she said she had struggled to come to terms with what happened to her as she brought up two young children, a task made even more difficult as some friends had failed to believe her.
She said she was ‘scared of doing normal family things’, and had turned to drink for a while before seeking help.
When the case was closed by police two decades ago after her attackers could not be traced, she was left ‘looking over her shoulder’, suspecting bus drivers, people sat in cafes and motorists
asking for directions.
“I never wanted to do anything or go anywhere, just in case they were there,” she said.
“Sometimes I would get scared if I went out to family parties and got left on my own.
“I would get shaky until somebody came back and sat with me.
“It’s always in the back of my head.”
The woman said it was a relief to know someone had finally been caught.
She said: “Anyone out there who has got a guilty secret, just wait for that knock on the door because it will come.”
Marshall had no other convictions for sexual offences.
He was put on the Sex Offenders Register for life.
Click on the link below for the background on the Briercliffe rape case.