'Brutal' Oswestry rapist jailed for 15 years
A man who raped a woman as she walked home early on New Year's Day has been jailed for 15 years.
Howard Long carried out the "terrifying" attack on the woman while she was walking alone from Oswestry along the B5069 near Morda.
He was handed an extended prison sentence by Judge Robin Onions at Shrewsbury Crown Court yesterday in the interest of public safety.
Judge Onions also praised a woman who answered the door to the victim at about 3.30am following the attack and immediately raised the alarm. He said he would recommend the woman for a High Sheriff's commendation. Long, 32, of Melverley near Oswestry, had previously changed his plea of not guilty the day before he was due to stand trial in July. He admitted rape, attempted rape, and two charges of assault.
He was due to be sentenced in November but Judge Onions adjourned proceedings and requested a psychologist's report.
The judge described the act as 'terrifying' and said it caused the victim physical and physiological harm.
He added that DNA evidence had always been "overwhelming".
The court heard part of the victim impact statement where she said: "I wish he admitted he attacked me earlier, I could have moved forward earlier."
Sentencing Long, Judge Onions said: "It was a dark evening with nobody around. It was an isolated area. She was vulnerable as she was on her own. There must have been some degree of planning. In the assault she was hit over the head with her own boot which fell off in the attack. It was a brutal, persistent attack. It must have been a nightmare for her."
Mrs Debra White, for Long, said her client had no other similar convictions.
She said: "His best mitigation is that he did enter a guilty plea before trial which meant the victim did not have to come to court and give evidence."
The court heard that the victim went into Oswestry town centre on New Year's Eve and was in the same pub as the defendant at one point in the evening.
Judge Onions said there was no evidence the defendant and victim knew each other or came into contact before the offence.
Long was given an extended sentence because of the severity of the case, but will be eligible for parole after serving 11 years and eight months. He will not be released until considered safe by a parole board. Upon release, Long will also have to sign the Sex Offenders' Register for life.
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