Video: Rape victim tells attacker ‘You’ve darkened every piece of joy in my life’ as he is jailed

Jessica Howard at Norwich Crown Court for the sentencing of rapist Clive Howard (no relation).

Jessica Howard at Norwich Crown Court for the sentencing of rapist Clive Howard (no relation). Picture by SIMON FINLAY. - Credit: Archant Norfolk

An Essex woman who was raped in a car park has described how an attack by a serial sexual predator has made it “impossible to enjoy moments of happiness” with memories of the incident darkening “every piece of joy” she has.

Clive Howard's car filmed on CCTV at St Helens Wharf car park in Norwich.

Clive Howard's car filmed on CCTV at St Helens Wharf car park in Norwich. - Credit: Archant

Clive Howard, 57, admitted raping the woman in her 20s in St Helen’s Wharf car park, close to the law courts in Norwich.

The attack, which happened on May 30 last year, turned out to be one of a total of 11 offences against six women across the East of England since 1986.

Howard, of Bury Street, Stowmarket, but formerly of Battisford, Suffolk, appeared at Norwich Crown Court yesterday to be sentenced after he changed his plea to the Norwich rape on the day his trial was due to start.

He was sentenced to a minimum of 10 years and three months in jail.

But before he was sentenced, the victim of the Norwich rape bravely read out a statement, which highlighted the devastating impact the incident has had on her life.

Jessica Howard, no relation, who we can name after she waived her right to anonymity, told the court she had been “violated” and “humiliated” by what had happened and felt her life was now “worthless”.

In the statement, Miss Howard, from Essex, who studies History of Art and Literature at the University of East Anglia addressed the defendant directly as she read it in court.

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“I am almost certain that the time between reporting you to the police and the months leading up to the trial were worse than what you did. I lost both my jobs, and all of my income, because I could no longer stay in Norwich.

“At first I could not go out by myself, then I attempted to train myself to be able to go out during the day. I had already suffered from crippling anxiety, which you exacerbated. In the end I had to leave my home because of you.

“Moving home did not have many benefits. I had an incredibly strained relationship with my family. Furthermore, living with my mother triggered my eating disorder to return.

“Plagued by binge eating and a constant belief that I was fat, you took away any self confidence I had in my appearance. I put on weight which exacerbated my non specific eating disorder and I am still severely struggling with it now. Unable to regain the relationship I had with food and instead panicking and fretting over each mouthful I take, each second of exercise I do.

“When I finally was able to return home, my goal was to return to university. After intercalating, this was my chance to finally finish my degree and graduate. I was confident I could turn my grades around and be successful. Instead, because of you I missed seminars and lectures, was unable to work, because of the flashbacks I endured: flashbacks I have been taking antidepressants for since June.

“You have made it impossible for me to enjoy moments of happiness. Your attack literally darkens every piece of joy I have. Recently, I have started to self-harm again as I cannot physically see a way of completing my undergraduate dissertation and putting you in prison. My degree is everything to me and you have caused the biggest distraction to that imaginable. You have led me to sink into a pattern of self-hatred and self-destructive behaviour that I am only now starting to get out of.

“You have made me unable to engage in relationships, feeling frightened if people get close to me and instead losing all respect for my body and engaging in inappropriate sexual encounters.

“Because of you my body is now worthless to me. You took away all of my control, took away all meaning to my body other than an inanimate object with no worth.

“On top of this you have also ruined my relationships with friends and family. Friends who do not know how to react have removed themselves from my life, some ignore it as if it doesn’t matter. Others I have been forced to lay a hideously large burden upon as I lean on them for support. You are making them suffer as well as me. Finally, you have made my relationship with my dad impossible. I was such a daddy’s girl, his only child. His only child that he now has to envision you violating in the worst way possible. He refuses to speak about it. For months after the attack he refused to speak to me. In the weeks leading up to the trial he hasn’t let me see him.

“Lastly, the impact of your actions have had on my future. How am I supposed to enter into a happy relationship, to have a happy life with the stigma of what you have done tormenting me? How am I meant to have a family if I always remember what you did, the sickening belief still stirring in my stomach that it was my fault? And how am I meant to tell my brother? My younger brother by nine years who means the absolute world to me, how am I one day meant to tell him that his big sister was subjected to what you did to her?”

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