A young woman has spoken out after a 46-year-old Lowestoft man was jailed for 12 years after being found guilty of three counts of raping her while she was a teenager.
Stephen Waters, of Princes Road in Lowestoft, appeared at Ipswich Crown Court today, Thursday 21 July, to be sentenced after being found guilty, following a trial, of three counts of rape on Monday 13 June.
The allegations came to light when the young woman contacted South Wales Police in March 2015 saying she had been raped by a man on three occasions several years earlier.
The rapes had occurred in Lowestoft and the details were passed to Suffolk Police’s Operation Gemini team based in the town to investigate.
Following basic enquiries, Waters was arrested the same day the incident was reported to the Suffolk team. He gave a ‘no comment’ interview but officers secured messages he had exchanged with the young woman, which made it clear he knew what he had done was wrong.
The young woman told police she had initially tried to fight him off and had frozen during the attacks.
Today she said;
“I want to thank Darren Winchester and the Gemini team in Lowestoft and also the judge for helping me get the justice I deserve. Dealing with it on my own has been really hard but over the last year and a half, whilst the case has been ongoing, everyone involved have been outstanding, great support on all levels, and I was able to give my evidence comfortably.
“I was really worried at first that there wasn’t going to be enough evidence as it happened so long ago. But thank you all for everything. My mum has been outstanding and her side of the family have also been a fantastic support, also my ex-partner has helped me come to terms with the fact I’ve done the best thing and reported someone who was meant to be a role model.
“I can’t say in words how grateful I am. It is very upsetting and frustrating to know that someone who was supposed to protect me hurt me in the way he did. Anyone out there who has been a victim of something similar or any crime it’s never too late to report it and the Gemini team in Lowestoft have proved that. I’m now able to get on with my life after it being on hold for so long as I was struggling to cope with it badly. I’ve got the justice I deserve, thank you all involved.”
Officer in the case DC Darren Winchester said at the time of Waters conviction; “The young woman has been extremely courageous in reporting what happened to her and her account and the evidence we secured during the investigation has led to a jury finding Waters guilty of three counts of rape.
“We would like to thank her for her bravery and integrity during the course of the investigation, and would also like to thank South Wales Police who assisted us with bringing Waters to justice.
“This shows again that we can put offenders before the courts many years after sexual abuse has occurred. Even if you don’t wish to proceed to court, help and support is available and we’d encourage anyone who may have been a victim to get in touch with police or other agencies who can assist.”
DC Winchester added; “Waters continued to maintain his innocence despite the substantial evidence against him, forcing this to go to a trial, and we’re pleased he has been convicted and jailed. While the process has taken some time the young woman was determined to see this through so no one else would be subject to rape or sexual assaults by him.”