A VIOLENT rapist who threatened to kill his victim has been given a 20-year sentence.

Stephen Starling raped the woman on two occasions last year as well as physically assaulting her. 

The 41-year-old was branded a 'dangerous offender' as he was sentenced for a catalogue of crimes.

Teesside Crown Court heard how Starling grabbed an officer's penis, leaving him in excruciating pain, when they arrested him following one of the violent assaults.

Tom Mitchell, prosecuting, said the defendant had a history of violence including causing grievous bodily harm with intent and assaulting police officers.

Starling was convicted of both counts of rape following a ten-day trial at the court.

His victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said she had been left traumatised by Starling's abuse and thought he was going to kill her.

The Northern Echo: Stephen StarlingStephen Starling

In her victim impact statement, she said: "I honestly think that if the police didn't turn up when they did I would have died that night."

Mr Mitchell added: "The police were called to the house and the sight they uncovered was shocking, Starling battered the victim and it is fortunate that she was not more seriously injured.

"She was badly cut and badly bruised, Starling was also convicted of the jury of threatening to kill her."

Starling, of Herbert Street, Darlington, was convicted of two charges of rape, threats to kill, and two charges of assault, but admitted a charge of perverting the course of justice and assault on an emergency worker.

Chris Baker, in mitigation, said his client had his trial and lost and accepted that he was facing a lengthy custodial sentence.

Judge Jonathan Carroll passed a 20-year sentence for Starling's catalogue of offences – 16 years in custody and an additional four years on extended licence after branding a 'dangerous offender'.

He said: "The pre-sentence report still demonstrates you do not accept any responsibility for your offending – you still blame your victim for the offences you inflicted upon her.

"You have no, or little, insight into the harm you have caused.

"In describing your offending to the probation officer, you seem to positively enjoy the violence you have used, asserting it has happened under your alter-ego, distancing yourself from any personal responsibility"

Starling was also made subject to an indefinite sexual harm prevention order.

If you have been affected by sexual violence, Darlington, and Co. Durham's Rape and Sexual Abuse Counselling Centre provides free, confidential support services. More information is available at RSACC (rsacc-thecentre.org.uk).

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