A MAN took advantage of a young teenager’s first experience of alcohol, raping her as she was sleeping off the effects, a court heard.

The victim had been out with friends drinking alcohol for the first time in her life on the night of the incident, in June 1992.

Durham Crown Court was told she was too scared to go home, risking her parents’ wrath, so she decided to make her way to her cousin’s home, in Seaham, where she expected to find her brother among people attending a house party.

Richard Herrmann, prosecuting, said her brother was not present, but due to her condition her cousin put her on a sofa in another room.

But she woke to discover a male figure on top of her, in the act of raping her, with another youth sitting on a chair, blocking the door.

She screamed, alerting her cousin, who had to punch a hole in the door to gain access to the room.

The male committing the rape, Anthony Ian Wood, then aged 19, was thrown out.

Mr Herrmann said the victim felt too scared to tell her parents, fearing she would not be believed.

She only informed her parents in 2017, but still did not complain to the police.

It was only two years later that it was reported to police and, when arrested, Wood presented a statement denying the alleged rape but made no comment to questions.

The now 48-year-old defendant, of South Hetton Road, Easington Lane, denied rape and, at last month’s trial claimed the girl “came onto him” and, when rebuked, “caused a scene”.

But, on the third day of the hearing, the jury returned a guilty verdict, on a 10 - 2 majority, and Wood was remanded in custody,.

Mr Herrmann said the victim said she has endured, “29 years of torture” since the incident, but felt, “a weight ws lifted from my shoulders”, after the trial verdict.

Wood admitted two counts of sexual assault, on a different woman, in recent years.

Eleanor Fry, in mitigation, said at the time of the rape Wood was an “immature” 19-year-old and described the offence as, “opportunistic”.

Imposing a total prison sentence of nine-and-a-half years, Judge Ray Singh said Wood, “undoubtedly took advantage of the vulnerability” of the rape victim, given the situation she was in, at the time.

Wood, who must serve at least two-thirds of the sentence behind bars until being eligible for release on licence, was also made subject of restraining orders relating to each victim and registration as a sex offender, both for life.


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