Woman was taken from home and raped by obsessed stalker, court told

The Northern Echo: Teesside Crown Court Teesside Crown Court

A WOMAN was snatched from her home, tied up and raped by an obsessed stalker, a court heard yesterday (Wednesday).

Anthony Graham is alleged to have told his victim that he was going to kill her - and dump her body in a grave that had been dug on the moors.

The 46-year-old, from Middlesbrough, has gone on trial at Teesside Crown Court where the prosecution has opened its case to the jury.

Mr Graham is also alleged to have tried to kill the woman's landlord - who he believed was her lover - in a hammer attack days later.

The jury was told that he had a "fixation" or "obsession" with his alleged victim, and spied on her through windows of her home for hours.

On one occasion, he waited for her outside of a relative's house with a bunch of flowers, prosecutor Caroline Goodwin told the court.

Miss Goodwin told the jury that Mr Graham was "angry and hurt" when he was rebuffed by the woman, who cannot be named, last October.

She said he lay in wait until her landlord left the house, sneaked in, and dragged her out in her bare feet, pyjamas and dressing gown.

It is said he took her to a bungalow he was converting in Redcar, east Cleveland, where he tied her up and warned he was going to rape her.

Two days later, Mr Graham is alleged to have attacked the man with a claw hammer - leaving him with a fractured skull and brain damage.

When he was arrested, he denied knowing anything about the assault and said he had not been responsible for the attack on the woman.

However, while he was on remand in prison, police secretly recorded conversations he had with visitors, Miss Goodwin told the jury.

In them, the court heard, Mr Graham said he had got "masked up" before waiting to strike - then got rid of the weapon and burnt his clothes.

Miss Goodwin said: "The Crown say that this defendant decided - and it was a deliberate plan - that he was going to, in fact, kill [the man] "The Crown say he bludgeoned him with a hammer, not once, but twice. He later got rid of the hammer on the railway lines. He buried it.

"[The man] is not fit to come to court. He has suffered irreparable damage and injuries to his brain. He was put in a medically-induced coma.

"The Crown say this was no fall. This was no accident. This was a deliberately intended, murderous act."

In one of the recorded visits, Mr Graham told his brother, whose hammer he is alleged to have took: "It's bent a bit more off his head."

Miss Goodwin told the court that the brother asked the defendant who had beaten up the man, and he replied: "Your hammer did."

In a later recorded conversation, Mr Graham is said to have told a visitor: "I brayed him. Don't get me wrong, I put him where he is now."

Mr Graham, of Doxford Walk, Hemlington, denies attempted murder, grievous bodily harm with intent, two charges of rape and false imprisonment.

Miss Goodwin told the jury that the woman feared she was going to be killed after she had been grabbed and dragged to the bungalow at night.

During the ordeal, someone came to the door and Mr Graham is said to have got a knife and warned his alleged victim to stay silent.

At one point, it is said Mr Graham pinned her down by the throat, pulled off her clothes and forced himself upon her as she sobbed.

Miss Goodwin told the jury: "He was going to punish her for how she had - in his eyes - treated him.

"Because he had been rebuffed, and because he was angry and because he was hurt, and because he had been keeping an eye, he was waiting to make his move.

"The Crown say it happened in this way because the defendant knew her movements, and knew who was moving in and out of the house.

"Because he had this fixation, he watched her and he knew when she would be alone.

"She was in the kitchen and she heard him from behind, she will tell you. He grabbed her from behind and pulled her hair.

"He told the in very plain terms, and aggressively, that he was going to hurt her. He used the belt from her dressing gown to tie her wrists.

"He made threats that he was going to kill her, that he was going to rape her, that he was going to have sex with her.

"He said he had paid someone £2,500 to have holes dug on the moor."

The case is proceeding.

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