A MOROCCAN waiter who raped and stabbed a North-East woman before leaving her for dead has been jailed for 23 years.

A court on the Spanish holiday island of Majorca found Mohamed Fadel El Anssari guilty of the attack of Cheryl Maddison, from Murton, County Durham.

A panel of judges at the Provincial Court in Palma sentenced the 31-year-old to 11 years in prison for sexual assault and 12 years for attempted murder.

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Miss Maddison, now 25, was attacked with a kitchen knife after El Anssari followed her home in the holiday resort Magaluf, days after she arrived to work in a bar on the Mediterranean island in May 2008.

She suffered multiple stab wounds and a collapsed lung, and the onslaught only came to an end when she pretended to be dead.

After learning of the sentence she said on Facebook: “It's been a tough four-and-a-half years. Even tougher month last month having to go to Spain and face my fears in court. But it's all been worth it. Absolutely over the moon to say he's been sentenced to 23 years. I hope the b*****d rots.”

El Anssari’s defence had called for him to be found ‘not guilty’ during his trial in January, arguing that incriminating traces of his DNA found on a cigarette should not be admitted because police had not followed correct procedure.

But in a written sentence released today, the panel led by judge Francisca Ramis Rosello said: “Given the seriousness of the crime and the time of year it took place, with the possibility that it would happen again after similar incidents had occurred in previous summers, taking the DNA sample was correct and necessary.”

Police investigating the attack arrested El Anssari in July 2011 and forensic officers were able to match traces of his saliva on a Marlboro cigarette with blood taken from a sheet and a T-shirt found near the crime scene.

The judges said that, after hearing evidence from a DNA specialist, there was only a one in a trillion chance that the match was wrong.

Ms Maddison, who now works as a model, and has waived her right to anonimity, flew to the island to give evidence in court against her attacker in January.

She said: “I couldn’t let a man like that walk the streets.”

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