Woman tells of knife rape ordeal
A CONVICTED murderer subjected a woman to a "brutal and prolonged" sex attack during which she was raped and tortured in her own home, a court has been told.
Mark Shirley burst into his victim's home wearing a balaclava and wielding a knife before subjecting her to a 14-hour ordeal, it has been claimed, during which he even stopped to make tea and watch the television.
A jury at Bristol Crown Court has been told that before the alleged attack in December 2005 Shirley had already murdered one woman – and that he had also been convicted of raping another woman in her Bristol home in 2009, before the current complainant came forward to police.
Shirley, aged 42 and living in Lockleaze at the time, denies four charges of rape, 12 serious sexual assaults and wounding.
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William Mousley QC, prosecuting, said Shirley had met the 32-year-old woman at the Pitcher and Piano pub on the Harbourside about three weeks before the alleged attack.
During a conversation she had let slip where she lived and a time when she would be at home alone but had "freaked out" after Shirley claimed to have been in the Army and swore at him before leaving the pub.
The jury watched a video interview the woman had given after making a complaint in May last year.
She said that three weeks after the meeting in the pub she was at home alone when she saw a white van pull up onto her drive and a man burst in to her home.
She said: "I saw this person coming in fast with a black balaclava on. For a millisecond I thought it was my brother or neighbour from next door messing about.
"He kept coming towards me and pushed me backwards. I think I made some kind of noise, like a squeak.
"He knelt down over me and got hold of my hair and banged my head on the floor. He was so, so scary."
After the attacker hit her head against the floor she remembered a pause before he began dragging her across the floor towards a bedroom.
The woman said: "He was muttering at that point – 'Can't say no now. You won't be able to say no now'."
As the attack unfolded he pushed her back onto her bed, pulled her hair and told her: "I'm gonna make you scream … and you're gonna love it," the jury was told.
The woman said she had no idea who her attacker was until he then took the balaclava off and she realised who he was immediately.
"I said 'Oh my God, I know who you are', I remembered immediately," she said.
"I was thinking, what on earth was he doing in my house?
"He said something like 'You recognise me now then?' He was almost spitting at me, telling me 'You're going to enjoy every minute of it'.
"He was so angry. His face was so angry. It was almost like he was more of an animal than a person."
The woman said that when she closed her eyes her attacker, whom she knew as Mark, told her that unless she opened them, he would kill her. She said he ran a knife across her throat, so that she could feel the cold steel.
The man then left the bedroom and she heard him put the kettle on, the jury heard.
She said: "I thought bloody hell, he's having a cup of tea. It really freaked me out. Like he was a psycho to go and have a cup of tea. He was that cold and he had no emotions.
"I thought he was going to do it all and rush away but he didn't. He was taking his time."
The woman said that the man used the knife to sexually assault her and also tied her up, before leaving with some of her underwear.
She told the court that having come forward, she now feared for her life.
"He is probably going to kill me after all of this now," she told the jury. "I'm going to end up dead."
The court has been told there are obvious similarities between the previous murder and rape convictions and the case before the court, such as use of a blade and fascination for blood, putting them "beyond the realms of coincidence".
Describing the effect on the complainant, Mr Mousley told the jury: "The consequences of the attack for her were devastating.
"Her mental health deteriorated and, despite her efforts to put it out of her mind, she was unable to continue working and was referred for specialist treatment.
"It was more than three years later, in the course of that treatment, that she first told anyone anything about what happened to her and another 18 months before she was able to give the full detail of her ordeal.
"At the beginning of 2011 she first spoke to a police officer about it but was not prepared to make a formal complaint.
"It was only in May 2011 that she agreed to be interviewed formally and she described the terrifying events of some five and a half years earlier."
Mr Mousley described, in graphic detail, how Shirley subjected the woman to hours of sexual degradation.
Shirley even stopped for tea breaks as the nightmare continued, the court heard, and told her if she told police he would kill her and eat her.
Mr Mousley said: "On several occasions during her ordeal he referred to her as Jan Mary, and on one of the occasions in which he was in the kitchen, he was singing the nursery rhyme 'Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary'. He told her that he would not make a mess of her face."
The jury heard that, after the ordeal , the woman washed herself thoroughly, cleaned the house and bedding and was convinced if she told police Mark would come back and kill her or anyone else there.
She threw herself into her work, didn't tell her housemate and moved house – locking herself away, scared to go out.
In 2008 she exhibited post-traumatic stress disorder (PSTD) to clinical psychologist Olga dos Santos and in March 2009 she revealed she had been raped by a stranger three years previously and her mental health deteriorated.
She told the jury she used to cut the scars he gave her. "He took total control of my body and I had to get control of my body back," she said.
In 2009 she gave up work due to poor mental health. In group psychotherapy sessions she referred to "the man" and asked "is he in the room?," the jury was told.
Shirley was arrested in July 2011 and denied the allegations.
After the complainant picked him out of an identity parade, the accused accepted he may have told people he had been in the Army and French Foreign Legion, which was not true, the jury heard.
He maintained his innocence, even though he had been identified, and said the woman was mistaken.
Mr Mousley said: "The offender has the same first name as the defendant. She recognised him more than five years later.
"He had the opportunity to have met her and the knowledge to have gone to her home three weeks later, when she was alone.
"He has a history of similar behaviour and there are those peculiar hallmarks to his behaviour in these assaults."
The case continues.