Man Jailed Indefinitely For Attempted Rape
The uni student attacked by Christopher Noble has spoken out about her ordeal.
A man has been jailed indefinitely after attempting to rape a 21-year-old student in Nottingham.
Christopher Noble, 20, of Milverton Road, Bestwood Park, followed the Nottingham Trent University student from town in the early hours of Sunday 5 June before attacking her.
He grabbed her from behind and dragged her by the throat and tried to rape her. Noble fled after he was disturbed by a passer-by.
The woman reported the incident to police and detectives mounted an extensive investigation to find her attacker, which included trawling through hours of CCTV footage.
A high-profile media appeal was launched and footage and images of the attacker were released to the public to appeal for information.
Noble admitted attempted rape and sexual assault - and has been given an indeterminate prison sentence for public protection, which means he will only be released in the future if a parole board is satisfied he does not pose a risk to the public.
Now, his victim speaks out in the hope of helping others:
She said: "I was ashamed, shocked and embarrassed that I had put myself in that situation by walking home alone - I blamed myself."
The following morning, she tried to forget about what had happened and return to normal.
"It sounds silly but I had a very important coursework deadline the next day and I did not want to think about it so I blanked it from my mind.
"But the deadline passed and I started to think about what happened more and more. I needed to discuss it with someone so I told my sister.
"I tried to speak but I couldn't say the words out loud because doing so would make it all real. I finally told her but could not bring myself to tell my parents - I didn't want to upset them or cause a fuss. The support from my sister encouraged me to report the incident to the police, assuring me it was the right thing to do."
The next morning, two days after the attack, she visited Central Police Station with a close friend and told police what had happened to her.
"It was a difficult decision but I thought it would be selfish of me not to do all I could to protect other potential victims by coming forward to get my attacker off the streets.
"I was constantly worrying because I knew he was still out there. It's not that I thought that he would come back and assault me again - I was concerned for other women. "
For the rest of the day, officers tried to obtain as much information as possible to help the investigation.
She said: "I was initially interviewed by officers but then had to carry out more detailed video interviews with detectives. I then had to visit the Topaz Centre in Nottingham to have some forensic medical tests done.
"As you can imagine the tests were not nice, but I knew it was necessary. The staff at the centre talked me through every step and put me at ease and my friend stayed with me throughout.
"It was a very difficult, long and tiring day but the detectives reassured me that they trusted me and would do all they could to find the man who attacked me."
DC Rachael Hickling was just one of the detectives assigned to her case who provided ongoing support to the victim and her family in the difficult weeks and months ahead.
The student added: "The entire police team was absolutely amazing. Rachael not only gave me regular updates about what was happening with the case but was there any time night and day to support me when I felt down.
"She even supported my parents when I plucked up the courage to tell them. My dad felt helpless and very upset - but the police were there to support him and talk him through what was happening. They comforted him and made him feel much better, which I will forever be grateful for."
Following an extensive police operation, Chris Noble was arrested by detectives on Saturday 11 June, six days after the attack.
"I have not let what happened change my life and I am not afraid to go outside by myself. The police response has reassured me massively and I know they are out there keeping me safe.
"I have, however, changed my habits when I'm out and consider how I'm going to get home after a night out and always make sure I'm with a friend.
"There are so many students in the city centre and many of us are sometimes so busy with our student lives and our university community that we think this sort of thing only ever happens to other people.
"Everyone should be free to walk home alone in the middle of the night by themselves but unfortunately that's not the world we live in. I urge others to talk care - students are not immune to crime and just by taking a few precautions we can protect ourselves."
She said that Noble's sentencing today will hopefully mark an end to this difficult chapter in her life.
"It's stayed with me ever since it happened and I think I have been waiting for today to come to finally let go. I am content in knowing I did all I could to put him in prison where he can't hurt anyone else.
"There are no words for how I feel towards him - I felt very angry for a long time but now I just feel sorry for him."
She also offered advice for other victims of rape or sexual assault who may not have confronted what happened to them.
"If this has happened to you, talk about it - it will make you feel better, although never feel pressured to. Take your time and tell who you need to when you need to.
"It takes time to come to terms with what has happened and while you may need support at the time, you may need it again a few weeks or even months down the line. I was lucky and so grateful to my family and friends who helped me - you shouldn't deal with it on your own.
"There is a lot of support out there for victims, so use it! If you need to get counselling then do so if it's what you need to move on.
"And most importantly, report it to police - they will believe you and you will not get in trouble. They will help put your attacker behind bars, which will keep other people safe."
To speak to someone at the Topaz Centre (Nottinghamshire Sexual Assault Referral Centre), call 0845 600 15 88 or email email@example.com.
Alternatively call Nottingham Rape Crisis on 0115 9410440.
To report a sexual assault, or any crime, contact Nottinghamshire Police on 0300 300 99 99.