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Victim blasts night stalker rapist

Published 20/04/2015

Clive Howard, who preyed on women walking alone, is facing jail after admitting crimes spanning nearly 30 years
Clive Howard, who preyed on women walking alone, is facing jail after admitting crimes spanning nearly 30 years

A victim of a night-stalker rapist who preyed on lone women has described how she was "violated in the worst possible way" as her attacker was jailed for life.

A judge described Clive Howard, 57, of Stowmarket, Suffolk, as "every woman's living nightmare" as he ordered him to serve at least 10 years and three months of a life term after he admitted seven counts of rape, three of kidnap and one of attempted rape at an earlier hearing.

The offences happened in Norfolk and Cambridge between 1986 and 2014.

Outside court, detectives revealed that over the past month 15 women who fear they might have been attacked by Howard have come forward.

During the hearing at Norwich Crown Court, Howard sobbed uncontrollably as his final victim, student Jessica Howard, 23, read out a powerful statement.

Addressing him directly, she said: "Because of you, my body is now worthless to me. You took away my control and because of you my body is now an inanimate object with no worth.

"I wanted to throw up as I recounted what you did to me."

Miss Howard, who studies history of art and literature at the University of East Anglia and is originally from Essex, said it was impossible to describe the lasting impact of the attack. She said she had since struggled with anxiety, self-harm and an eating disorder.

She told him: "First of all you humiliated me: a close friend of mine saw me naked, saw me screaming and crying on the ground.

"I blame myself for being raped, for getting into your car.

"I had to see my mother's face as she looked at her only daughter after she had been violated in the worst possible way."

She added that Howard had taken away her self-confidence and made it impossible for her to enter into relationships.

"You have made it impossible for me to enjoy moments of happiness. Your attack literally darkens every piece of joy I have."

Other victims gave similar harrowing accounts, with one saying she attempted suicide.

Judge Stephen Holt described Howard's reaction as "crocodile tears".

He added: "This was a campaign of sexual offences over many years.

"Two of the victims describe you spanking them - this is additional humiliation and degradation.

"There was clearly a significant degree of planning and targeting.

"All of the victims' statements show a similar pattern of how terrified they were and the ongoing effect this has had."

Mechanic Howard, of Bury Street, was caught after Miss Howard described his Volvo car to police and they found CCTV footage from earlier that night showing him circling Norwich searching for lone women.

Further investigations and DNA evidence revealed he attacked two women on May 5 2013 and two on February 15 last year. These attacks all happened in Cambridge.

It later emerged that he raped one woman six times in Suffolk, beginning in 1986.

The victim of those offences described how he spoke of attempting to rape a stranger, although police have not been able to prove this claim.

Describing the attack on Miss Howard, prosecutor William Carter said Howard picked her up as she walked home at about 11pm before driving her to the darkest corner of the city's St Helens Wharf car park.

Mr Carter added: "Her recollection is jumbled but she has always been perfectly clear that she did not want what happened next to happen and she made that clear.

"She was very frightened and she was screaming at him. She pleaded with him not to rape her."

Outlining one of the 2013 attacks, Mr Carter said Howard targeted a woman in her 20s near Christ's Pieces park in Cambridge.

"She was grabbed by Clive Howard, he took her to the ground and held her down. She struggled as hard as she could but could not get him off her."

During the struggle, Howard's DNA was lodged under the victim's fingernail and was eventually used to link him to the Norwich case.

Just 45 minutes earlier Howard had kidnapped another woman in his car. Officers found "striking similarities" to the Norwich case and finally linked Howard to two other kidnappings involving young women in Cambridge.

Jude Durr, mitigating, said Howard was ashamed of his crimes and felt genuine remorse.

He added: "He recognises he should have asked for help a long time ago."

Outside court, Detective Sergeant Chris Burgess described Howard as a "predatory loner" who frequented dating websites and used prostitutes.

He has six children from a marriage but has no contact with them and has lived with his parents since this relationship broke down.

At the time of his arrest, he was in a relationship with an 82-year-old woman.

Det Sgt Burgess said 15 other women have since come forward, saying they may have been attacked by him. At least one of these has been confirmed as a victim.

He added: "He is a very dangerous man - he was a sexual predator and people will be safer with him behind bars.

"There is concern that there are further victims out there and we would encourage anybody who believes they were attacked by him to come forward."

Victims of sexual abuse should contact Norfolk's Sexual Assault Referral Centre on 0845 456 4810 or call police on 101.

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