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We have today welcomed the sentencing of a Liverpool man to 12 years in prison following the rape of a woman in December 2018.
39-year-old Gerard Cooper of Croxteth Grove, Toxteth, was convicted following a trial and was sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court today, Friday, 23 October. He was also placed on the Sex Offenders Register for life.
In the early hours of Saturday, 15 December 2018, Cooper gained entry to an address in Dingle and raped the victim, a then 30 year-old woman, while she slept.
Cooper was arrested and charged following an extensive investigation which uncovered DNA evidence linking him to the crime.
Speaking after the sentencing, Detective Constable Julia Jennings said: “To trespass in the home of a complete stranger, before subjecting a young woman to the most abhorrent crime is absolutely despicable and it is incredibly pleasing to see Cooper locked up for a significant amount of time at court today.
“Cooper is a dangerous predator who, despite the overwhelming DNA evidence against him, denied his actions, meaning the victim had to endure the stress of a trial. I would like to commend the victim, who has shown incredible bravery throughout the investigation, despite the devastating impact this ordeal has had on her life. I hope she can now begin to find some kind of closure and continue to move forward, with our full support.
“I hope today’s sentencing encourages anyone that has been the victim of a sexual assault that help is available, and we will do our utmost to bring perpetrators to justice and put them before the courts.
“Merseyside Police has specially trained officers who will listen to you and treat you with compassion and sensitivity, and provide full support throughout.”
As part of her victim impact statement, the victim stated: “It’s now been over a year since I was attacked. I was enjoying a nice evening at home with a friend that turned into one of the worst nights of my life and the effects of the attack are still with me every day. The sheer horror of what happened to me still feels like something from a nightmare, as I struggle to imagine how another human being can be capable of such a crime.
“Since learning of his name, I‘ve never been able to repeat it out loud yet it runs through my head every single day. I also find it hard to hear or say the word that describes what happened to me. More recently after dealing with the direct aftermath of what happened, I have a deep feeling of worry. I’m convinced something awful is going to happen to my loved ones, I constantly fear the worst and sometimes my mind wonders and plays out horrific situations that I would never have thought of before. I believe this is down to the trauma I have suffered.
“This wasn’t an attempt at petty theft gone wrong, or to steal anything of value, all of which was bypassed downstairs and left alone. The perpetrator knew of his intentions and carried them out as I was sleeping in my own house.”
Support for victims is also available through the registered charity the Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre Cheshire and Merseyside, who can be contacted on 01925 221 546 or 0330 363 0063 or Rape and Sexual Assault Merseyside (RASA) on 0151 558 1801.
Anyone with information or wants to report sexual offence allegation is asked to call 101 where you will be spoken to by specially trained officers or you can pass information to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.