Leeds & West Yorkshire

New Year Honours: Leeds lottery rapist victim made MBE

A West Yorkshire woman who was made an MBE after winning compensation from a lottery-winning rapist has spoken of her "long and traumatic" struggle.

Iorworth Hoare won a £7m National Lottery prize while on day release from jail in 2004.

Shirley Woodman, who Hoare was convicted of trying to rape in 1988, won a House of Lords ruling in 2008.

The landmark case established that victims could sue their attackers more than six years after an attack.

Mrs Woodman, who is 82 and has lifted her anonymity, said her court battle had been "for justice".

"It was a fantastic struggle. It was a long and traumatic one and it was very hard at times," she said.

"But when we heard the decision from the Lords, there was jubilation."

Mrs Woodman reached a confidential out-of-court settlement in March 2009 after taking her claim to the High Court.

All the money from the settlement was given to charity.

'Absolutely horrified'

Mrs Woodman launched her bid for compensation against Hoare, who had six previous convictions for rape, attempted rape and indecent assault, after being told of his lottery win.

"I was absolutely horrified and terrified at the same time - I went to pieces," she said.

"It's impossible to describe how one feels when one's personal space has been invaded. Then to know he'd been released into the community and had won all this money.

"I just felt that he was going to seek me out and wreak his vengeance on me because it was my evidence given in court that put him in prison."

Image caption Iorworth Hoare won £7m after buying a Lotto Extra ticket while on day release

'So unjust'

Mrs Woodman, a retired teacher, said she wanted Hoare to pay damages for the psychological injuries she suffered as a result of the attack in Roundhay Park, Leeds.

"I felt it was just so unjust. I'd had between 16-20 years of personal strife which I had kept hidden most of the time," she said.

"And here was this man who had £7m and was going to be able to keep it."

Mrs Woodman was made an MBE in the 2012 Queen's New Year Honours.

She said she was "very proud" of the honour, but said it should be shared.

"There were so many people who worked hard, who looked after me and contributed," she said.

"They never, ever broke their promise to keep me anonymous."

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