The victim of a brutal and sustained rape attack has spoken out about her terrifying ordeal.
On May 30 last year, Abdul Ghafoor pounced on his young victim - a barmaid who was making her way home in Bedford.
The 33 year old married dad-of-four subjected her to a horrific three hour sexual assault after dragging her into bushes in Cardington Road.
Now, with the sex offender behind bars for life, his victim has been brave enough to speak out about that terrible night and how she is now trying to move on with her life.
She said: “When this first happened to me, I thought about it every day for months afterwards.
“It made me feel very anxious and scared about being on my own and I wasn’t sure how I would ever recover from what he did to me.
“Every time I walked down that road after it happened I would get flashbacks.
“It would take me back to the night of the attack. It would make me feel horrible and I would get upset.
“I have tried my best to put the attack behind me and move on, but it has been really hard. I am trying my best.
“It will take me a long time to get back to normal, but I am determined to live a normal life.”
Ghafoor, of Nash Road, Bedford, was caught after the victim managed to text ‘help me’ to her sister, who then called the police.
He was found guilty of six sex offences, including two counts of rape, three counts of sexual assault and one of attempted rape, along with charges of false imprisonment and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
In November, he was jailed for life and will serve a minimum of nine years behind bars before he is eligible for parole.
His victim, who is legally entitled to lifelong anonymity and does not wish to be named, said: “I will never forget what happened to me, I just want to put it behind me.
“I want to thank my independent sexual violence advisor, Carolyn, who has really looked after me and explained each stage of the case.
“I would also like to thank all of the police officers involved in bringing this case to justice, and my family and the friends who supported me through the hard time I was having.
“I am pleased the person who attacked me was found guilty and I feel safer knowing he is in prison.”
In the months since the attack, he has received specialist pre and post-trial counselling and support, arranged by Bedfordshire Police staff through its independent sexual advisor service.
During the court case, the judge praised the victim for her ‘exceptional bravery’ and recommended three officers involved in the criminal case for commendations.
>Anyone who has been a victim of rape or sexual assault, an report it to Bedfordshire Police on 101, by texting 07786 200 011, or alternatively, contact Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.
Bedfordshire’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre, can also be contacted by visiting www.emeraldcentre.org, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 01234 897052, for help and guidance.