County Durham Sex Attacker Jailed

5 May 2015, 16:59 | Updated: 30 March 2016, 13:50

A terrified mum was repeatedly stabbed by a violent sex attacker who had been lying in wait for her to come home.

Matthew Gallagher had pestered his victim with unwanted flowers and cards in the weeks before he forced his way in to her address with a knife and caused four knife wounds to her abdomen, one to her groin and a defensive wound to
her finger.

During the violence, the 47-year-old attacker warned "I'm going to rape you now" and repeatedly punched the woman's face while pulling out clumps of her hair.

The victim was sexually assaulted before she somehow managed to force Gallagher out of her home and lock the door.

At Newcastle Crown Court today Gallagher was branded a public danger and sentenced to ten years behind bars with a four year extended licence period.

Judge Paul Sloan QC told him:
"The victim speaks of feeling broke, mentally, and how her life has been shattered by you."

"I am satisfied there is a significant risk to members of the public of serious harm occasioned by the commission, by you, of further offences."

"It was a sustained attack which involved the use of a weapon and involved a significant degree of premeditation on your part."

"It would appear your intention was to cause a lot more serious harm then actually, fortunately, resulted from the offence."

"It was in her home, where she should have been safe and you entered the property as a trespasser."

The judge said Gallagher had been "lying in wait" outside for his victim when he got to the house and she was not there.

Judge Sloan ordered Gallagher to be detained at a secure hospital due mental disorders he suffers, partly due to head injuries he received in a road accident in the past and partly because of alcohol abuse.

The court heard Gallagher has described himself as a "horrible individual" while under the influence of alcohol.

Gallagher, of Murton Lane, Easington Lane, who has previous convictions for violence, admitted wounding with intent and sexual assault.

Prosecutor Jolyon Perks told the court the attack happened last summer when the victim got back after a night out.

As she got to her front door Gallagher forced his way in alongside her.

Mr Perks said:
"He began to stab the complainant to the stomach area with the weapon, pushing her into the living room as he did so.

"He dragged her into the kitchen, shouting at her 'I'm going to rape you now' and 'Im going to take you outside and rape you'."

The court heard the woman was sexually assaulted in the kitchen.

Mr Perks added:
"All the time, he continued to stab at her stomach with the knife."

The court heard one of the knife wounds punctured the woman's abdominal cavity.

She told police in a victim impact statement she has suffered intense psychological injury involving flashbacks and sleep problems which have led to her being referred to a counsellor for therapy.

Glen Gatland, defending Gallagher, said:
"Sometimes one reads cases and thinks that the person who is involved is a monster."

"In this case, I submit, that is not this man. He is a vulnerable, emotionally sad, weak man."

"He is not a monster, he is a very, very vulnerable man."

Mr Gatland said Gallagher had a traumatic upbringing and recognises the harm and distress he has caused.