Wednesday 13 December 2017

Army captain jailed for raping a woman while his fiancee slept in the next room

Scales (stock)
Scales (stock)

Martin Evans

An army captain has been jailed for seven years after raping a woman while his fiancée slept in the room next door.

Sandhurst graduate Daniel Howard, who has served in Afghanistan, carried out the attack at his flat in February last year.

Despite awaiting trial for the crime he and his fiancée married last month and the court was told she has vowed to stand by him.

But Howard, 29, from Darlington, Co Durham, was told by a judge at Teesside Crown Court that his drunken attack had had a devastating impact on his victim.

Giving evidence at the trial, his victim who cannot be named for legal reasons said: “This will always be part of my life, and I will have to learn to deal with it.”

She revealed how she had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, has had to change jobs and rarely leaves the side of her family.

She said she could no longer be “the fun-loving, bubbly person that I was” and could not face meeting the public in her employment, so was forced to swap roles.

“I couldn't go anywhere alone. My mum had to be in the bathroom with me when she came around and washed my hair for me as I was too exhausted to do it myself.

“I still have anxiety attacks where I'll break down in tears and ring a friend crying for no reason whatsoever. This will always be part of my life that I have to learn to deal with.”

She added: “My life is still on hold. Even though I am making progress, and I'm determined to, I just feel damaged and broken.”

Howard, who serves with the Royal Army Medical Corps, was convicted after a four-day trial in which he was accused of inventing a “ludicrous, cold-blooded and insulting” defence.

Howard claimed forensic evidence found on intimate swabs had been put there by his victim after she found a sex toy he had used.

But the judge told him he had been convicted on "the strongest possible evidence".

In her evidence, the victim said Howard forced himself upon her, and during the attack warned her not to tell his fiancée.

The following morning, she tried to call her boyfriend, contacted a rape crisis line and drove to the nearest hospital.

She said she had attempted to pretend everything was normal when she got up, and Howard asked her: “Have you had a good time?”

The judge, Mr Recorder Andrew Sutcliffe, QC, told Howard: “In the face of overwhelming DNA evidence to the contrary, you continued to deny this ever happened.

“In my view, this attempt to humiliate and denigrate your victim severely exacerbated the wrong you had already done to her.

“By using this excuse, you have demonstrated no regard for the impact this far-fetched allegation would have on her.”

Paul Abrahams, defending, said: “He has achieved much in his life thus far. He has the support still of his wife and his in-laws.

“I have no doubt it will have a massive impact on his family. I would ask Your Honour to consider it was an utter moment of madness.”

The judge told Howard: “What you did was calculated. You relied on [the victim] keeping what you had done a secret burden to herself.

"You sought to degrade and humiliate her by concocting a wholly false and unwarranted allegation."

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