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Majorca rape victim tells how speaking out has helped others
1:14pm Wednesday 6th February 2013 in News
A NORTH-EAST model who was raped and left for dead on the Spanish holiday island of Majorca revealed today how speaking out has helped other victims of horrific crimes.
Cheryl Maddison, 25, from Murton, east Durham, was speaking after Moroccan waiter Mohamed Fadel El Anssari was jailed for 23 years for sexual assault and attempted murder.
She was "really happy" with the sentence which had given her "justice".
Ms Maddison, who has waived her right to anonymity, told the ITV show Daybreak she had received an amazing reaction from the public since she faced her attacker in court.
She told the programme: "It has been really, really good.
"I've had little messages on Facebook off girls who have been through similar things, saying I am helping them, giving them a bit of courage to come forward.
"If I am helping one or two girls, it means so much."
She was attacked in May 2008 days after arriving on the island to work in a bar, and suffered multiple stab wounds and a collapsed lung.
The waiter told her he would kill her if she was not quiet, raped her then tried to kill her.
She survived the onslaught by pretending to be dead. She needed an emergency operation and spent ten days in hospital.
She gave evidence last month at the trial which, though tough, was worth it.
She said: "I needed justice to be done and without us being there, it wouldn't have."
She told Daybreak she believed her assailant would never be caught until the Spanish authorities contacted her to say an arrest had been made.
"I got an email and I stopped breathing for a second," she recalled. "I got used to the fact he was not going to get caught.
"It was such a shock and I didn't expect it. It was amazing."
Ms Maddison said for two years after the attack she was a different person.
"One day I thought, This is not me, I need to get back to my old self," she said.