Norfolk

Clive Howard rape case: 'My body is now worthless to me'

Clive Howard Image copyright Archant
Image caption Clive Howard was pictured by the Eastern Daily Press in 2011 taking down Christmas lights in a row with planners

Clive Howard is finally behind bars after trawling the streets of East Anglia in his car, attacking and raping women over a number of years.

But for those he preyed on, the hurt and emotional pain lives on.

"Because of you, my body is now worthless to me," Jessica Howard, 23, told Norwich Crown Court while the man who raped her sobbed uncontrollably in the dock.

"You took away my control and because of you my body is now an inanimate object with no worth.

"I wanted to throw up as I recounted what you did to me."

Miss Howard, who is of no relation to the defendant, chose to waive her right to anonymity and describe to the court the emotional trauma she has faced since the attack last May.

The University of East Anglia student, originally from Essex, was walking home after a night out in Norwich and got a lift from a passing Volvo, which was being driven by the defendant.

He then took her to St Helens Wharf car park, just metres from where he met his fate in court and raped her.

Image copyright Norfolk Police
Image caption Jessica Howard was raped in St Helens Wharf car park, just metres from Norwich Crown Court
Image copyright Norfolk Police
Image caption CCTV was captured of Clive Howard's car, including its distinctive roof-rack

After the attack, Miss Howard tried taking a photograph of the car's number plate but Howard grabbed her phone and threw it into a bush before driving off at speed.

But she managed to find it and called a friend before dialling 999.

Police examined CCTV and were able to identify part of a number plate and other features of the car, including a sunroof and roof-rack.

This allowed officers to narrow the search for similar cars in the area and it eventually led to Howard's home in Stowmarket, Suffolk.

Howard was arrested and his DNA put on the national database, which matched with an unsolved case in Cambridge, in 2013, where the victim had caught Howard's skin under her fingernails.

The offences then unravelled and led to Howard being jailed for attacks on six women in Norfolk and Cambridgeshire.

But police fear more people could have been subject to his abuse, with 15 potential victims coming forward since the case came to court.

Image caption Jessica Howard (centre) gave a powerful statement at Norwich Crown Court

Other women told the sentencing hearing they had attempted suicide since being attacked by Howard.

"To describe the ramifications of you raping me is impossible," said Miss Howard, who addressed the defendant directly as she read her statement.

"First of all you humiliated me - a close friend of mine saw me naked, saw me screaming and crying on the ground.

"I blame myself for being raped, for getting into your car.

"I had to see my mother's face as she looked at her only daughter after she had been violated in the worst possible way."

She described how she had struggled with anxiety, self-harm and an eating disorder since being raped and that Howard had made it difficult for her to enter into relationships.

"You have made it impossible for me to enjoy moments of happiness," she said.

"Your attack literally darkens every piece of joy I have."

Howard was jailed for life after admitting seven counts of rape, three of kidnap and one of attempted rape.

He must serve at least 10 years and three months before being considered for parole.

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