Woman beaten and smothered after armed sex attacker broke into her home

A woman was beaten and smothered by an armed sex attacker who crept into her bedroom during the night.

Wednesday, 20th December 2017, 1:17 pm
Updated Wednesday, 20th December 2017, 1:20 pm
Paul Johnson

The victim, who cannot be identified, said what happened to her at the hands of Paul Johnson was "stuff that nightmares are made of".

Newcastle Crown Court heard the 32-year-old brute punched the woman "as many as 20 times", held a pillow over her face and tried to rape her in her bloodsoaked bedroom.

She was left with bruising across "most of her body" from being repeatedly beaten by the stranger.

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The court heard Johnson showed the victim that he was carrying a screw driver during the attack and claimed to have a gun before he left he scene.

Prosecutor Lee Fish told the court Johnson was unable to rape his victim due to his inability to get an erection.

Mr Fish said: "The prosecution say that this is the only reason that the defendant did not in fact rape this complainant."

The court heard in an attempt to save herself during the ordeal, during which she feared she would be killed, the brave victim allowed Johnson to use her phone to contact his girlfriend and even offered him a cup of tea.

He finally left the house, which is in the Sunderland area, with a large amount of his victim's cash and took her car. He was arrested after a police pursuit, which ended in Durham City.

Johnson, of no fixed address, who has previous convictions for violence, admitted attempted rape, robbery, aggravated vehicle taking, driving without a licence, having no insurance and driving while under the influence of drugs.

Judge Stephen Earl sentenced him to 15 years behind bars with a four year extended licence period and sex offender registration for life.

Johnson was given a lifelong restraining order to ban him from attempting to make any contact with his victim.

He was also banned from driving for 13 years and must pass and extended test before he can go back on the roads.

Judge Earl told him: "She was, it was clear to me, trying to diffuse the situation, even to the point she offered to make you a cup of tea for the purpose of deflecting you."

The judge said the victim was in "sheer terror" during the "horrific" attack and added: "Frankly, I and other people in this court room can only imagine the very serious trauma she suffered that night at your hands.

"The one place where a person is entitled to feel absolutely safe is in their own home, in their own bed.

"You violated that safety in the most wicked way that night."

Judge Earl said Johnson, who must serve at least ten years before he can apply for parole, poses a "significant risk" to the public.

The court heard the woman had been asleep in bed when she heard a noise in the early hours of the morning in the summer.

Mr Fish said: "She was subjected to an ordeal which can properly be described as terrifying.

"She heard a noise at her bedroom door. She then saw that there was a man stood at the door of her bedroom."

The court hear the woman had tried to scream but Johnson punched her and warned her to be quiet.

Mr Fish added: "He placed a pillow over her face and grabbed her by the throat.

"The complainant thought he was going to try to suffocate her and managed to push him off her."

The court heard the victim suffered more physical violence during two failed rape attempts before convincing Johnson to use her phone to contact his girlfriend.

During the phone conversation, Johnson told his now-ex partner "I've done something really bad, I didn't mean to".

Mr Fish added: "The complainant, attempting to diffuse the situation, even suggested she made them a cup of tea."

The victim, who eventually managed to run from her home, said in an impact statement: "I was alone in my home and woke up in my bed to find a large built, male stranger standing in my bedroom.

"It is the stuff nightmares are made of."

The woman said her fear that night was "indescribable" and that her home no longer feels like the "safe haven" that it used to.

She added: "This attack has changed my life."

Johnson told the court: "I am sorry."

He added: "If i could give my life to take away the woman's pain, I would do it in the blink of an eye.

"I never thought I had it inside me to do that.

"I didn't think I could do that to someone."

Alec Burns, defending, said Johnson, a "family man" with children, had taken "a lot of drugs and alcohol" and has thought about what he did every day since.

Mr Burns added: "When discussing it earlier he was crying, he really is remorseful.

"It is a burglary that went wrong".