Friday 30 September 2016

Rape victim convicted attacker 'from beyond the grave'

By Emma Clark

Published 30/04/2015 | 19:41

File photo of rape victim Ceri Linden and her daughter Bethan. Photo: Cheshire Constabulary/PA Wire
File photo of rape victim Ceri Linden and her daughter Bethan. Photo: Cheshire Constabulary/PA Wire

A rape victim who was found dead before her attacker's trial began helped to send him to prison "from beyond the grave", police said.

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Masood Mansouri, 33, was jailed for 13 years at Chester Crown Court today for the kidnap, sexual assault and rape of 20-year-old Ceri Linden in August last year.

The mother-of-one flagged down Mansouri's car in Chester believing he was a taxi driver, but instead of being taken to a city centre bar she was driven to his house, where she was subjected to a "terrifying ordeal".

North Wales Police said his conviction was thanks to her "powerful" video interview with officers which was played to the jury, but added that it was a "tragedy" that she had not seen the outcome of her bravery.

Miss Linden was found dead at her home in Colwyn Bay days after the police interview. An inquest has yet to take place.

Detective Inspector Claire Coleman, head of Cheshire Police's rape unit, said: "So powerful was the account provided by Ceri that her video evidence was used to bring Mansouri to trial.

"The court heard the victim describe in her own words what Mansouri had put her through .

"This is a brave lady, who found the courage to tell her story. Today the jury has listened to her words, and she has helped to ensure that a very dangerous man has been brought to justice.

"The tragedy of this case is that our victim achieved so much, but will not share the outcome. Our thoughts are with her family."

Chief Crown Prosecutor Claire Lindley, from Mersey-Cheshire Crown Prosecution Service, said: "This is a most tragic case.

Masood Mansouri, who has been jailed for 13 years at Chester Crown Court for the kidnap, sexual assault and rape of 20-year-old Ceri Linden in August last year. Photo: Cheshire Constabulary/PA Wire
Masood Mansouri, who has been jailed for 13 years at Chester Crown Court for the kidnap, sexual assault and rape of 20-year-old Ceri Linden in August last year. Photo: Cheshire Constabulary/PA Wire

"Despite her terrifying ordeal, the young victim found the courage to go to the police and, with the help of specially trained officers, was able to give a clear, recorded testimony of what had happened to her.

"Sadly, the victim was found dead before the trial began but her testimony and the other evidence gathered was presented to the court by the prosecution and Mansouri has now been brought to justice.

"We hope this brings some closure to the young woman's family, who have shown great courage and resolve throughout this case. Our thoughts remain with them at this very difficult time."

Mansouri was sentenced to six years for the offence of kidnap, 10 years for sexual assault, and 13 years for rape, all to run concurrently.

In a statement, Miss Linden's mother, Eleri, described her daughter as "intelligent, caring and kind-hearted".

"Losing her has left a hole in our lives which can never be filled and a pain in our hearts which will never heal. Ceri's lovely little daughter, Bethan, has to grow up without her beautiful mummy," she said.

"Ceri had been through some traumas in her life which had had a profound effect on her but still managed to share her witty sense of humour.

"Before this awful incident Ceri had made plans to continue with her studies and had intended to go on to university."

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