A 35-year-old man has been jailed for ten years for a sexual assault after his victim, who is also his wife, refused to give evidence against him.
In what is believed to be one of the first cases of its kind Northumbria Police proceeded with a prosecution after mobile phone footage of the assault was found on the man’s phone.
The judge called it a truly horrendous offence with the woman the subject of an exercise in punishment and humiliation.
The man was initially arrested after his wife reported to police that she had been raped at their home address and handed police her mobile phone.
The two minute video was described as disturbing and showed the victim, who had been largely naked and in a drug/alcohol induced state, being abused. The video showed the distressed victim crying and begging the man to stop.
Although initially co-operative with the police, within a couple of months the victim refused to go to court, saying she wanted her husband released from custody and giving a retraction statement.
The man said he needed to prove she drank alcohol and slept around and had made the video for divorce proceedings. The court heard that despite accusations of the woman having an affair he had no evidence to prove this and police secured a statement from an Imam to negate this saying he would not have required this evidence for a divorce.
On a number of occasions the man gave differing accounts in court saying the couple often videoed each other and Islam consented to everything that was on the video.
The jury returned their guilty verdict of causing sexual activity without consent after 90 minutes of deliberating. In addition to the jail sentence the man was also given life on the sex offenders’ register.
Inspector Paul Young of the Rape Investigation Team, said: “Throughout this case this man showed little regard for women and thought he could do what he wanted to his wife.
“This sentence sends out a message to people who think they are outside the law with behaviour which cannot be excused by any community or religion and we will, where we can, take forward a prosecution without a victim to protect that person and the wider community in which these people live.”