Liverpool victims say Mindaugas Budkus rape trial ordeal 'horrendous'
Two victims of a Liverpool rapist have spoken about the "horrendous" ordeal of going through a two-week trial to see their attacker sent to prison.
Mindaugas Budkus, 23, of Kirkdale, was convicted of raping the pair in separate incidents in Liverpool and sentenced to life in prison, with a minimum term of nine years.
Police said the women's quick thinking and bravery in giving evidence was crucial in securing the conviction.
Hearing the news that he was off the streets brought huge relief to both women - but the trial came at a cost to them.
The first victim, a 39-year-old woman, had been to her local pub with friends when she met Budkus in a takeaway and he talked his way into her home.
"A lot of it I can't remember," she said. "After it happened I heard the front door close and ran downstairs and called the police.
'Shadow hanging over'
"The 999 operator spoke to me until the police arrived, told me not to get a wash so they could get DNA and keep any clothes in a bag for evidence, then the police were there."
She described waiting for the trial as "horrendous".
"It was hard until after the trial. It was always there like a shadow hanging over me.
"Even going to the corner shop, I couldn't even do that for the first three months on my own. I still can't go out in the dark now on my own.
"I'm still not sleeping too good but a lot better since the trial's been over."
The 39-year-old decided to face her attacker in court rather than give evidence from behind a screen, and said: "The lead-up to it was horrible but it wasn't as bad as I thought.
"He wouldn't even look at me, he kept his head down. I thought somewhere deep down he's got a little bit of shame."
Weeks after her attack Budkus struck again, following a 21-year-old woman through the city centre late at night, before tricking his way into her halls of residence and raping her at knifepoint.
The CCTV trail from this attack eventually led police to arrest Budkus.
Despite the trauma, the 21-year-old student is due to finish her studies this year and stay in the city.
"I didn't want to run away," she said.
"Before the trial I couldn't sleep, as soon as the trial was over I slept on the way home and 13 hours that night.
"It was horrendous leading up to the trial. I expected everything to go wrong, I expected him to say lots of horrible things, it was a lot of pressure and it just brought it all back again.
"But if I didn't say anything and found out a few years later he had gone and done it to somebody else I couldn't sleep - I would feel like it was my fault it happened to somebody else."
Det Insp Debbie Tipton said: "In both instances the victims came forward to the police straight away, they were very brave in what they did.
"They gave us the maximum opportunity to get as much evidence from them as possible.
"The forensic evidence played a vital role in the case and matching the evidence from both cases to the same offender was crucial."