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Man sentenced for vicious sexual assault

|News, Sexual offences

A man who left a woman with life-changing injuries after subjecting her to a violent sexual assault has been jailed.

Ian Matthew Suddes, 52, was sentenced today, 25th June 2021, to seven and a half years imprisonment and placed on the Sex Offenders Registration for an indefinite duration, at Durham Crown Court after pleading guilty to one charge of assault by penetration in March 2019.

Suddes, of Consett, County Durham, had been drinking with the woman, prior to the assault and the pair had returned to his home. The following morning, the woman was discovered coughing and choking by another person living in the house.

After being taken to hospital, she was found to have significant internal injuries in the lower abdomen, but was completely unable to recollect how she had sustained them. Medical experts said she would have been heavily intoxicated at the time of the attack, which is why she was not awoken by the pain. 

Phillipa Wylie, from the CPS, said:

“This was a particularly violent sexual assault, with life-changing consequences for the victim as a result of her injuries. Given the victim’s inability to recall what would have undoubtedly been an incredibly painful experience at the time, it is clear she would have been wholly incapable of giving informed consent to the violent sexual act perpetrated against her.

“Ian Suddes, who carried out this act in pursuit of his own sexual gratification, initially denied any wrongdoing. However, we worked closely with police to build a robust case and he has now admitted responsibility for his actions.

“While she continues to deal with the long-term consequences of this horrific assault, I sincerely hope she can take some measure of consolation from the significant sentence passed on Ian Suddes today.”

Detective Chief Inspector Nicola Lawrence of Durham Constabulary added:

“This has been a traumatic case and I would like to praise the victim for the phenomenal courage she has shown both throughout the police investigation and in her determination to give evidence against her attacker.

“I would also like to thank the investigating officers, whose professionalism and tenacity ensured that such a strong case was built against Suddes that he ultimately admitted his guilt.

“This was a truly horrific crime, which left a defenceless victim with potentially life-changing injuries. Nothing can change what has happened, but now at least Suddes has been forced to admit what he has done and face justice for his actions.”

The conviction comes as the CPS intensifies efforts to narrow the gap between reports of rape and serious sexual offences (RASSO) and cases reaching court. Last month we published refreshed rape and serious sexual offences (RASSO) legal guidance, delivering on our ongoing commitment to make the prosecution of these crimes reflect today’s rapidly changing society.

In January we published the Joint National Action Plan in partnership with the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) which sets out a wide-ranging plan for greater collaboration to improve the response to RASSO cases.

This builds on extensive collaboration across England and Wales, where police and CPS have joined forces to roll out significant changes to shared working practices in order to reduce delays and increase charges. Our RASSO 2025 strategy, an ambitious five-year programme to drive system-wide improvements in the handling of rape cases and increase the number of strong prosecutions.

Notes to editors

  • Phillipa Wylie is a Specialist Rape and Serious Sexual Assault senior prosecutor for CPS North East’s RASSO Unit.
  • The Crown Prosecution Service is committed to closing the gap between the number of cases being reported and those going to court, to make sure more victims get justice.
  • In June, the CPS and the NPCC launched the National ISVA framework which commits to new minimum standards of support for victims of rape and sexual violence.
  • Victims can report sexual offences to their local police on 101 or call 999 if they are in immediate danger. For confidential support, victims can speak to Rape Crisis and Victim Support.

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