College graduate describes sex predator husband jailed for life as 'kind and sensitive'
Wife of 37-year-old man who kidnapped and raped a student and sexually assaulted three other women promises to "stand by him through all of this"
A Cambridge University graduate has defended her sex predator husband as a “gentle, kind and sensitive” man as he was sentenced to 11 years in prison for rape.
Adriana Ford-Thompson, a York University research and teaching fellow, pledged to stand by her 37-year-old husband Mark Thompson - described as a danger to women by the judge.
The environmentalist said the jury had “taken my husband away from me” by finding him guilty, before he was given life in jail for the kidnap and rape of a student and sex attacks on three other women.
Mrs Ford-Thompson sat through every day of his trial and insisted she would stand by him despite hearing harrowing details of the ordeal suffered by a 21-year-old student at the university where she works.
The woman was walking home from her job in a club at 3.50am when he snatched her from the street and bundled her into his white van before raping her three times as he drove around the city.
Teesside Crown Court heard that at one point, martial arts expert Thompson - who is the son of a church pastor - told the undergraduate: ‘I don't get sex from my wife, so I go to get it elsewhere.’
But despite the details of self-confessed drug taker and adulterer Thompson's crimes, Mrs Ford-Thompson mouthed “I love you” and “stay strong” to him throughout the nine-day trial.
After a jury convicted him of nine sex offences including kidnap, rape and attempted rape, she said: “He is a sensitive, kind, soft, gentle man.
“I have known him for 10 years, he is my best friend. I will stand by him through all of this. They have taken my husband away from me. He is not the man they are making him out to be.”
The jury which convicted Thompson heard he put the student in a headlock and dragged her to his van which he had parked around the corner.
He told the terrified young woman: “You have two options - you can give me what I want and you tell nobody what has happened, or tonight is the night you die.”
She eventually escaped his clutches by leaping from his van as he stopped at a red light and running through the streets until she fell into the arms of a retired policeman and told him: “I've been raped.”
An investigation into Thompson's background upon his arrest revealed an earlier sex attack that had been reported against him in 2009.
Following publicity surrounding his arrest two other women came forward to say he had attacked them in their beds. One of the women was only spared from being raped because Thompson was unable to undo the zip on the ‘onesie’ she wore to bed.
After Judge Michael Taylor jailed Thompson for life and ordered he must serve a minimum of 11 years, the rapist clenched his hands in front of his head and bowed to both judge and jury.
Judge Taylor told Thompson: “You sexually abused four young women, you fought your trial to the bitter end and you have shown not on ounce of mercy or remorse for these offences which amount to any woman's worst nightmare.
“You are only 37 years of age and I treat you as a man of previous good character but this catalogue of offences is truly horrific.”
He went on: “You are one of the most dangerous offenders I have ever had to deal with in my entire judicial career.
“You will not take no for an answer, you will pursue women even into their own homes. In my view you pose a significant risk to women for many, many years into the future.”
He said the victim who was snatched and raped by Thompson had been profoundly affected, with the incident ruining her academic life and leaving her afraid to go out at night.
Judge Taylor said: ‘You dragged her into a vehicle where you subjected her to the most awful sexual contact over a period of five hours.
‘You raped her and you made it plain that if she did not go along with what you were doing it would be her last day on earth.’
The court had heard that on October 29 last year the student was at her part-time job in a city centre club and was working on a Halloween-themed evening so wore a fancy dress outfit.
When Thompson was arrested and interviewed on October 30 and in interview, he gave no reply at first, but later claimed the student had stopped to show him her outfit before voluntarily getting into his van and having sex with him.
Giving evidence, he said: ‘It is not in my nature. I have got no reason to rape her. It is impossible.’
Thompson also admitted being an adulterer and taking drugs, such as cocaine, when he was younger - but denied rape and kidnap. He said: ‘I have committed a sin. I think that is between me and my wife.’
Following the rape of the student, police started making inquiries into Thompson and discovered the earlier case from 2009 which never reached court.
On February 29 of that year a young woman left work at a city centre bar and was grabbed from behind by Thompson.
She was forced into the shop entrance where he began thrusting his groin forcibly at hers. She screamed and doormen and members of the public came running to save her.
She was shouting: ‘He tried to rape me,’ but Thompson responded to the men who had come to her rescue: ‘Don't worry about it brother, she is my girl, seriously blood you can go home - I would not go with another girl when I have a picture of my wife in my wallet.’
Thompson was arrested and interviewed but he said that she initiated the sexual contact and the investigation never reached court. But he has now been convicted of sexually assaulting the woman.
Two other women also came forward and one of them revealed she had been sexually assaulted by Thompson just hours before he kidnapped and raped the student.
The woman had been at home on October 29 when a house-mate and friend of Thompson invited him to the house for a meal and drinks.
Thompson left but was later allowed back to sleep on the sofa because he said he had fallen out with his wife.
However he got off the sofa and went into the woman's bedroom where he attempted to sexually assault her, failing only because her terrified screams brought their friend running carrying a baseball bat.
The remaining victim, a 32-year-old woman from York, was attacked by Thompson on July 13 last year when he was invited to stay at her house, again by a mutual friend.