A VIOLENT rapist whose attack on a woman was described by a judge as “beyond appalling” has been jailed for nine years.

Paul O’Brien said he would return to kill the tearful victim – even if he were to go to prison.

The 47-year-old, of Auckland Oval, Darlington, admitted offences of rape, sexual assault and assault by penetration in relation to the incident in October last year.

Recorder David Dixon, sitting at Teesside Crown Court, said O’Brien will also become a registered sex offender for life.

Bearded O’Brien, who sat stoney faced in the dock throughout the sentencing hearing, smashed the woman’s phone and demanded sex, before carrying out what was described as a sustained attack.

Dan Cordey, mitigating, said O’Brien’s pleas had spared the victim from giving evidence in a trial.

He said: “He is deeply ashamed of what he has done and knows he must be punished.

“He would wish to offer his apologies and knows he will receive a lengthy custodial sentence.”

The victim said she had lost her confidence, had anxiety attacks and nightmares. She had also suffered a nervous breakdown and was having to move home.

Recorder Dixon said the fact the woman felt unsafe and was moving as a result made O’Brien’s offending worse.

He said: “This was beyond appalling. She was crying... Yet you still raped her. It was a sustained incident which included your threat to come back and kill her even if you were imprisoned.”

The Recorder said O’Brien would have faced a 12 year jail sentence after a trial, but this was cut to nine years because of his guilty pleas.

He would serve half of that before being released on prison licence, he said.