Hove man given five life sentences for campaign of rapes, assaults and emotional abuse
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A Hove man who subjected a woman to months of repeated rapes, violent assaults and psychological abuse has been given five life sentences.
Charles Durdle, 26, of Blatchington Road, first raped his victim – a woman in her 20s – at a property in Hove in April, 2022.
Over the subsequent months, up to September 2022, Durdle continued to rape her on an almost daily basis, isolated her from her family and friends, and controlled almost every aspect of her life.
Her physical health suffered hugely, losing 38kg over an 18-month period.
On one occasion Durdle tied a noose around her neck and pulled it tight until she could not breathe, leaving asphyxiation injuries on her throat.
Durdle’s offending was first reported to police in September, 2022, when his victim caught him sending sexual videos of the two of them to a teenager. She also disclosed previous instances of violent abuse and threats to kill her.
He was swiftly arrested, found to be in breach of an existing Sexual Harm Prevention Order and remanded in custody.
Durdle was subsequently charged with five counts of rape, two counts of assault by penetration, and one count each of making indecent photographs of a child, actual bodily harm, intentional strangulation, engaging in controlling and coercive behaviour and with breaching a Sexual Harm Prevention Order.
He pleaded guilty to all counts and at Lewes Crown Court on Friday, 20 October, was given five life sentences to run concurrently, with a minimum jail term of 10 years and two months.
He was also given an indefinite restraining order and will be on the Sex Offenders’ Register for life.
In an impact statement submitted to the court, Durdle’s victim shared the devastating impact of his crimes: “I feel like I’m trapped inside my body, like I am a prisoner to myself, even though it is him that has been locked up, I too feel I have been, unable to enjoy simply pleasures in life such as a hug or a kiss on the cheek without fear running through me.
“It has and continues to be complete torture. I thought when he left it would leave with him but he has left with not only a physical scar on my throat to remind of what happened, but the memories of every time he raped and assaulted me.
“Even hugging my friends, something that is meant to be wholesome and filled with kindness, is something I’m scared to do now in case I flinch and start to break down.
“I pray to God every day that I had seen what he really was earlier, I wish I had reported him the first time he assaulted me or the second or the third.
“I am lucky to not be dead, and I am lucky that I have a family that loves me, and a partner who loves me, but no amount of love can heal the wound this man has left.”
Detective Chief Superintendent Richard McDonagh said: “The courage this young woman has shown to report Charles Durdle’s appalling crimes cannot be overstated.
“He has rightly received multiple life sentences, but his victim must live with the effects of his campaign of physical and psychological torture for the rest of her life.
“If you are in an abusive, controlling situation and it feels like there is no escape, please know that help is out there. Reach out to family and friends, report to police or support agencies and you will be believed, supported and we will do everything in our power to get you the justice you deserve.”
Sussex Police works with a range of agencies to help victims of sexual offences access support throughout the investigative process and beyond, including Rape Crisis and Survivors’ Network.