January 2011

Serial sex attacker handed 15-year jail term

A SERIAL sex attacker described by one of his three rape victims as “the devil” has been jailed for 15 years.

Ian Coull raped and assaulted three young women while others thought he was the “perfect gentleman,” a court heard.

Prosecutor Sarah Mallett said he subjected vulnerable young females to degrading sexual abuse and gratuitous violence.

She said the sex attacks, between 2004 and 2009, had profound, long-lasting effects on their recovering victims.

He raped his first victim while she slept and assaulted her, leaving a black eye and a burst lip.

She told police he was a sexual predator and a beast, and “the devil” during a Teesside Crown Court trial.

A second woman was also physically attacked, sexually abused and repeatedly raped.

Coull, 32, forced socks into her mouth, raped her then acted as if nothing had happened. On another occasion, she awoke to find him raping her. He put a cushion over her face to stop her crying out.

He strangled his third victim and put his fingers down her throat in one attack. He appeared to enjoy her distress on other occasions when he raped her.

He sexually assaulted a fourth woman once, groping her before she punched him in the face.

The case was triggered by Coull’s arrest on suspicion of a rape in the Rossmere Way area of Hartlepool, for which another man was later convicted and jailed.

Coull, of Moffat Road, Hartlepool, denied all charges. A jury found him guilty of five rapes and one sexual assault last September. He was cleared of three other rape charges.

A psychiatric report said he was a high risk of similar re-offending. He did not have a mental or personality disorder or show psychopathic traits but had a “deviant interest in sadistic sexual acts.”

Nicholas Atkinson QC, defending, said: “You’re not dealing with a serial rapist. He recognises he hasn’t behaved towards women as he should.”

He said cable puller Coull “displayed insensitivity which becomes criminal” but accepted some responsibility and had agreed to undergo a sex offender treatment programme.

He read from three letters of reference from women who had known Coull for many years and never had any sexual association with him. They said he was a “perfect gentleman,” a good man, a good father to his children.

Judge John Walford ruled Coull posed a significant risk of serious harm to women, but said he was persuaded that a life or indefinite sentence was unnecessary.

He jailed him for 15 years, of which he will serve half inside, followed by an eight-year licence period on release. Coull was given a sexual offences prevention order and will be on the sex offenders’ register, both for life.

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