"While dictators rage and statesmen talk, all Europe dances — to The Lambeth Walk."

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Two Jailed for Sex Attack

A rape victim spoke of her ordeal after two Sri Lankan immigrants were jailed for brutally attacking her yesterday:
A courageous rape victim has seen justice done after standing up to two men who subjected her to a terrifying sex attack.

The 21-year-old victim faced Tharumaseelam Thangavel and Arunan Thanabalasingam in court as she recounted her ordeal at their hands.
And she sat in the public gallery as the two men were jailed for eight and a half years each after her harrowing evidence was heard by the court.

Today she told of her struggle to cope after the sickening sex attack. The student, who can't be identified for legal reasons, said: 'What happened that night is always in the back of my mind. 'It's always going to be there. I have to just learn to live with that. 'Immediately after it happened I could not be left alone and I would not go out on my own. I just felt scared all the time. I'm getting better now but I still find it so hard to trust people. 'I try to keep busy and I didn't take any time out from my degree while all this was going on – but it's just so I can distract myself from what happened.'

The young woman had been out drinking in Southsea when she was offered a lift home by Thangavel and Thanabalasingam.
The duo drove her back to their home and said she could sleep in a spare room.

They then took it in turns to rape her as she begged them to leave her alone.

Thanabalasingam, 30, and Thangavel, 27, drove her back to Southsea and left her by the side of the road.
The two Sri Lankan nationals were arrested soon after. They claimed they had consensual sex with the woman, and stood trial at Portsmouth Crown Court.

The woman said: 'It was awful having to relive everything in front of the jury.
'I thought I was going to be okay but I just kept breaking down in tears. I could not help it. 'It was a horrible experience but I was determined to go through with it and make sure they would not get away with what they had done. 'I was scared they would get off but I wanted them to know what I had been put through.'

The jury took just three hours to convict both men of rape.
The victim added: 'I was so relieved when I heard they had been found guilty. 'I felt that everything I had done had been worth it. 'I'm pleased that they will be in prison for a long time – although I just wish it was forever. 'These men have no feelings. They don't seem to care about what they have done. 'I want to get on with my life now and never think about them again.'

Police today praised the woman's courage. Detective Sergeant Sue Murray said: 'The victim in this case deserves huge credit for the courage she has shown throughout this ordeal. 'She was in the witness box for nearly three days giving evidence, which was incredibly tough for her. 'I think a lot of what she has done and why she has done it is to help other people and show that these matters should be reported. 'This is the best outcome to a very bad situation but hopefully she will get some closure from it now.'


'After the incident happened I could not even go to my lectures at university. 'Even now I find it very difficult to talk about what happened to me, and I never talk about it in any depth with anyone.

'I know that if I did I would get very emotional and upset. Sometimes I go through the events in my mind but even just thinking about it I can't get to the end of what happened in my mind as I just burst out crying. 'I just don't know where to start, and it feels weird to even think about talking about what happened. It would sound so awful. It was awful what happened. 'After it happened I had trouble sleeping at all.

Although I can sleep now I have never slept the whole night through since it happened. I always wake up at least twice a night every night. After the incident had happened I went home for the summer and stayed with my parents. I stayed in the same room as my sister. I find it better being with someone so I am never on my own.

'I got a job to keep myself busy and keep myself distracted from my thoughts. I also went to see a counsellor to see if that could help.
'However, I only went to two sessions because I could not speak about it. I did not like talking to a stranger about it. I found it too difficult to speak about it. 'I have never gone through the whole events since I first spoke to the police after the incident. I don't know how to get it out of my system, yet it is too hard and too painful for me. I'm a little scared and worried about going to court but at the same time want to tell the court exactly what happened.

'I am worried that I will bump into the two people again and I am worried about the verdict. I am worried that the men who raped me will be found not guilty and I will see them again at university.
'I've never told my parents about what happened to me and they don't know anything about me having to go to court. This has been difficult keeping it from them but I know what parents are like and I know they would try and over-protect me and even try and keep me in the house to keep me safe. I did not want this and I wanted to carry on with my studies.

'I still have my moments now where I go quiet and I don't want to speak to anyone about anything and I don't want to do anything. This is not normally like me, as before the incident I was a sociable person, but now I do have those moments when I am really quiet.

'I find it better to be with people all the time so I can be distracted and not have to think about it. 'I am getting a little better now but I am still not quite right. 'I always make sure I get dropped off back home by someone so I don't get scared. I am worried and scared about being a witness in court. I think I will be all right and be able to tell the court what happened.'

Tharumaseelam Thangavel and Arunan Thanabalasingam will remain on the sex offenders' register indefinitely as a result of their convictions.
This means that they have to inform police of their whereabouts at all times and notify them of any changes of address.

Judge Graham White also made a recommendation that both men, who come from Sri Lanka, should be deported when they are released from prison. But a final decision on whether they should be returned to their country of origin will be made by the Home Office.

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