Page last updated at 16:57 GMT, Friday, 6 February 2009

Rape victim makes plea to others

Michael Thomas
All three of Michael Thomas's victims spoke of his 'black and menacing' eyes

A woman, raped by an ex-boyfriend, has waived her anonymity to encourage other victims to report their ordeal.

Susan George, 45, said she had no idea haulage contractor and racehorse owner Michael Thomas was a serial rapist until after he was charged.

Thomas, 44, of Abergavenny attacked Ms George in the back garden of her home, where he had been hiding in her shed.

He was jailed for 16 years at Newport Crown Court for 19 sex and violence offences dating back to the 1980s.

Ms George has since been treated for post traumatic stress disorder and is now on a counselling course to help other victims.

She said: "I'm hoping some good can come out of all this bad.

"I hope by telling my story it will encourage other victims to come forward.

"It shows the police system is better than it was years ago and that there are people who can help you."

The guy in the car has raped me - call the police now - he says he's going to kill me
What Susan George said to a petrol station attendant

Thomas, who had built up a small stable of successful racehorses which he kept at Chepstow, was found guilty of seven charges of rape on three women.

He was also found guilty of attempted rape, sexual assault, making threats to kill, three charges of indecent assault, two of causing actual bodily harm and two of false imprisonment.

The court heard Thomas was bitter when their two-year relationship ended in in April 2007 and Ms George moved out of their a rented house in Abergavenny to a cottage.

Seven months later Thomas built a makeshift bed on the floor of her garden shed and spent 10 days living in the shed so he could spy on her.

A court heard he attacked when Ms George opened the back door to let her dog into the back garden late at night.

Seven charges

Thomas ran at her brandishing a large hammer. Ms George described his eyes as "like two black holes".

The court heard Thomas raped Ms George twice and held her captive in the home until daybreak.

When Ms George persuaded Thomas to take her to a nearby all-night petrol station to buy cigarettes, she whispered to the assistant: "The guy in the car has raped me.

"Call the police now - he says he's going to kill me." Police pulled the car over and arrested Thomas.

The father-of-one went on trial for twice raping Ms George but the case was stopped when three other women came forward to say he had attacked them as well.

Thomas was found guilty of seven charges of rape on three women.

'Terrified victims'

He was also found guilty of attempted rape, sexual assault, making threats to kill, three charges of indecent assault, two of causing actual bodily harm and two of false imprisonment.

All of his victims said Thomas's eyes were "black and menacing" as he attacked them.

Sentencing him at Cardiff Crown Court, Judge Llewellyn-Jones said: "The most striking similarity was that all the victims described the same look in your eyes as you carried out the attacks.

"Your offences were over a 21-year period - you petrified your victims, used violence against them, grabbed them by the throat and hair and used both knives and hammers.

"Two of the women suffered serious psychological harm - your victims were terrified and thought they were going to die."

The judge recommended Thomas serves a minimum of eight years before being considered for parole. Thomas was also ordered to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

After the case Miss George said: "I hope he rots in jail.

"He's an animal and I have no sympathy for him because he showed me no sympathy at all."

Police praised Ms George and the other victims for their bravery through the legal proceedings.



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