A British rape victim’s 16-year nightmare is over now that a Manchester judge has sentenced her attacker to 23 years behind bars.
The Daily Mail reports a Manchester Crown Court judge recently sentenced 48-year-old Michael Walsh to over two decades in prison. His release will be contingent on a parole board’s approval and, if released, he would remain on a form of probation until 2045. He will be registered as a dangerous offender.
During his trial, the court heard testimony from his victim, who was not named, recounting nearly two decade’s worth of rape and physical and emotional abuse.
Details of the woman’s ordeal, reported by the Mirror, include one incident in which Walsh, a former amateur boxer, tracked down his victim, who had left her home to hide from him, and coerced her back with threats.
He was said to have then forced her to dig in the ground with her bare hands while he told her she was digging her own grave.
According to testimony in court, Walsh often referred to his victim as “dog” and was said to have once hit her in the head with a hammer and then forced her to sit in a garden in the rain “like a dog.”
Other incidents, detailed in court, involved Walsh shooting the woman in the hand with an airgun, cutting her with a razor, imprisoning her in a wheelie bin, and forcing her to perform degrading sex acts.
He was also accused of having beat the woman unconscious and patrolling around her home in his car.
Prosecutors told the court the abuse began in 1998 and continued until Walsh was arrested in 2014.
Following the trial at a Manchester Crown Court, a jury found Walsh guilty of 10 counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, five counts of rape, one count of common assault, and one count of false imprisonment.
At his sentencing hearing, prosecuting attorney, Gary Woodhall, called the case one of the most disturbing of its kind because of the psychological harm inflicted on the victim, the Manchester Evening news reports. This harm was reportedly a result of Walsh's “degradation and humiliation, abduction, prolonged detention, violence, threats of violence, and forced entry into the victim’s home.”
Judge Hilary Manley appeared to have agreed, saying at the hearing that the evidence presented at trial painted the “clearest and most compelling picture of a woman who was beaten, raped, traumatized and humiliated” by Walsh, who, the judge said, had subjected the woman to a “campaign of rape and violence.”
Photo Credit: Manchester Evening News