Sunday, April 27, 2014


Anguish of sex victim in year-long wait for justice... because of her attacker's rights

A young woman who was subjected to a vicious sexual assault has given the first full account of her torment after waiting more than a year to see her attacker sentenced.

The 24-year-old, who came within seconds of being raped, launched a blistering attack on the justice system, which she said pandered to the rights of criminals while ignoring those of the victims.

Yesterday the woman described her terrifying ordeal after the judge described the case as ‘a scandal’.

Latvian migrant Rolands Brize pleaded guilty to attempted rape, yet after 11 court adjournments over matters including a lack of Latvian-speaking nurses, he has still not been sentenced.

The victim was grabbed from behind while walking home last March but escaped Brize’s grasp to call 999, giving her location as Myton Bridge in Hull. But as she spoke to operators, Brize seized her again and dragged her under the bridge. Police arrived to find him on top of her. ‘I’ve never screamed or cried so much in my life,’ she said. ‘The 999 call wasn’t cut off, and I’ve been told the recording is one of the most horrific things because they could hear the screams for help.

‘I wasn’t going to let him do what he wanted to do, so I put up a fight. I managed to get away and run up on to the bridge, but he ran after me, grabbed me the second time and dragged me back down the slipway. He had me pinned to the ground.

‘I grabbed the railings to try to pull myself back up and he hit me. Then I remember seeing this shadow and this light, and it was a policeman – they’d turned up and managed to get him just in time.’

Though the assault was over, another ordeal was about to start as the case dragged on despite the guilty plea of homeless Brize, who had a history of mental illness in Latvia and burnt down his family home before coming to this country. Recalling seeing him in court, the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said: ‘It was quite horrific. He turned and made eye contact. It’s the worst feeling.

‘The only thing which made me feel slightly better was that on the night... he had the upper hand, but when I saw him [in court] he looked ill and tired and like he was in the worst position of the two of us,’ she told Radio 4’s Today programme.

The victim hoped the case would be over by the end of last year, but sentencing was repeatedly delayed because doctors had not had a chance to gauge Brize’s mental state. ‘It’s been quite tough,’ the woman said. ‘It’s not clear every time why it’s been adjourned – they need more time to assess him, or the right bed’s not available… not having the right level of security… no Latvian-speaking nurses to ensure he gets the best care.

‘His human rights have been brought up, which I find hard to understand... The guy who did this to me has been treated better than I have. It’s gone on for so long, it’s so draining, and I don’t have faith in the justice system after this at all.’

Brize, 25, is currently at Chadwick Lodge, a secure psychiatric hospital in Buckinghamshire owned by the Priory Group. It is reported to cost £500 a day to be treated there, though the company will not discuss fees charged to local authorities. Brize’s care bill has so far been estimated at £90,000.

Last week Judge Mark Bury at Hull Crown Court said he will pass sentence next month, even if a psychiatric report is not ready. ‘This case is turning into a scandal and I will not have it,’ he said.

Original report here




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