Victims tell court of their suffering
THE four victims of a serial sex attacker have relived their ordeals in court at his trial.
The women, of different ages and backgrounds, described their suffering at the hands of Jeremy Hawke.
The first described being raped by him on three occasions and managing to repel a fourth attack in 1995 by screaming, telling the jury at Truro Crown Court he threatened to kill her or her children if she told anyone about what was happening.
Describing one of these rapes Mary McCarthy, for the prosecution, said: "[He] grabbed her by the throat. She was only 7st. She was powerless to prevent this attack."
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A second victim described how he touched her inappropriately in August 2007. She immediately told police but the charges were dropped at that time due to lack of evidence.
A third woman said Hawke found opportunities to be alone with her and raped her on three occasions, leaving her depressed and scared for her family: ""He was saying he'd kill my kids and my kids mean more to me than anything," she said.
"Every day he'd have a feel, even when his wife was there, and she'd just laugh and say, 'He's only mucking around; it's only Jerry'. I didn't want to be there any more. If I could have ended it I would, but the only thing stopping me was my kids."
The final victim, and the youngest, described a number of occasions when Hawke touched her inappropriately and one where he ripped her trousers off in front of others.
"I felt degraded," she said. "I didn't feel comfortable standing there in front of him in my thong."
All four were cross-examined by Hawke's defence lawyer and accused of inventing the incidents.
The officer in charge of investigating the case against Hawke, Detective Constable Teresa Barraclough, has praised the four women for having the courage to come forward and report the attacks and then for bravely giving evidence in court: “I would like to thank the victims for the courage they showed to do this because it was obviously a very difficult and emotional process to go through.”
She said the two-year investigation was handled with sensitivity and that all victims of sexual abuse were assigned designated sexual offence liaison officers (SOLOs).
"The SOLOs work closely with the victims and can signpost them to other agencies for help and support with issues that are separate from the police investigation," she said.
Detective Constable Barraclough urged other victims to come forward and talk to police, no matter how long ago they had been attacked.