A GRANDMOTHER repeatedly raped in an attack branded as one of the worst committed in the region told last night how the ordeal had destroyed her.

The 65-year-old revealed that she is now a "shadow of her former self" and "feels sad inside" after the terrifying ordeal at the hands of two drug-crazed teenagers.

The woman yesterday faced her attackers in court when they were sentenced to life imprisonment for the sex assaults - described by the Recorder of Middlesbrough, Judge Peter Fox, as one of the worst crimes ever committed on Teesside.

He ordered they be placed on the sex offenders' register for life, but said they would serve little more than five years before being considered for parole.

Teesside Crown Court heard how Lee Beazley and David Humphrey, high on drink and drugs, broke into the woman's home on September 29 last year, tied her up with tape and gagged her with a sock before taking it in turns to rape her.

The 19-year-olds held a knife to her throat and beat their victim, leaving her "crippled with terror". The assault was so extreme that she blacked out and believed she was about to die.

The rape, committed in the affluent area of Marton, Middlesbrough, shocked the community and was described by detectives as one of the worst crimes they had seen.

In a statement, the woman, who cannot be identified, said: "I was subjected to a violent attack in my own home which has devastated my life and the lives of my family.

"I was once a happy, confident, independent woman and I can say now, due to what these two males did to me, I am a shadow of my former self.

"I do not think they will ever realise what they have taken from me and how they have destroyed me."

Beazley and Humphrey got into their victim's home through a rear window, at about 11pm.

They had drunk a large quantity of alcohol, smoked cannabis and taken heroin substitute tablets. Beazley, armed with a knife, and Humphrey, with a screwdriver, dragged their victim into her bedroom before beating and raping her.

Afterwards, the pair stole cash, jewellery and a mobile phone.

Jeremy Richardson, prosecuting, said: "They were pitiless to their vulnerable and defenceless victim, who was crippled with terror from first to last."

Cleveland Police caught the rapists after their fingerprints and DNA were found at the victim's home.

Sentencing them, Judge Fox told the teenagers it was "amongst the worst crimes ever committed on Teesside".

He said: "Obsessed by greed, lust and cruelty, you subjected her to a terrible ordeal, one of shocking and painful humiliation in her own home, which you went on to plunder, ransack and defile."

Humphrey, of Deepdale Avenue, Grove Hill, Middlesbrough, admitted three counts of rape, and Beazley, of Dalcross Court, Hemlington, admitted two charges of rape. Both pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary.

Barristers for both men said they were remorseful and regretful of their actions.

Facing her attackers - Page 3