Sheffield woman tells of moment she woke up at party to find herself being raped

Josh Shutt
Josh Shutt

A brave young woman has spoken of the horrific moment she awoke outside at a Sheffield house party to find herself being raped by another party-goer.

The victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, faced rapist Josh Shutt at Sheffield Crown Court as he was jailed for seven years.

She told the court of the devastating impact his attack on Good Friday last year has had on her life.

Sobbing and shaking as she spoke, the young woman told the court: “I am reading this victim impact statement to try and express the damage and the trauma this has caused me.

“I find myself constantly searching for answers. I have so many unanswered questions.

“I have to live for the rest of my life searching for closure I may never find.

“He has destroyed me with his actions. I can still hear him breathing in my ear. I can’t get these constant flashbacks out of my mind.

“I don’t feel myself around anyone anymore. I no longer feel safe. I am going to get support to overcome these feelings and his actions that have caused me distress.

“I have had 10 months of being unable to go out or to be alone.

“Coming here today has caused extra stress for me, but I felt I needed to do this for a little bit more closure.”

She said the horrific ordeal had impacted on her relationships with her boyfriend and parents and she now suffered low moods, poor self-esteem, anxiety, depression and panic attacks.

Judge Michael Slater said: “I would like to commend the complainant for her bravery in coming to court today.

“I wish her and her family all the best and I hope matters will get better.”

The court was told in the early hours of March 26 Shutt’s victim went outside to smoke a cigarette and went into the outside toilet because of the cold before passing out moments later.

She awoke to find herself lying several feet from the toilet with 21-year-old Shutt raping her.

Prosecutor Ian Goldsack said when the young woman woke up Shutt got up and went back into the house.

He left the house shortly after the attack and his victim went straight to the local police station to report the incident.

Shutt, of Eastern Avenue, Arbourthorne, refused to comment in police interviews in March and June but pleaded guilty to rape at Sheffield Crown Court.

Paul O’Shea, defending, asked the judge to consider the defendant’s young age and relatively minor criminal record, which did not contain similar convictions.

He said everyone at the party was considerably drunk and Shutt’s attack had not been a premeditated one.

Judge Slater told Shutt as he jailed him: “Your victim has to live with what happened for the rest of her life. You have caused significant damage for no reason you can explain other than you were drunk.

“It is clear from the statement she delivered in court that she has suffered and will continue to suffer considerable psychological problems for which she has to have medical treatment and counselling.”