Rapist gets life after taunting victim in courtroom

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The Independent Online

A rapist who taunted his victim in the witness box for three days because of a legal loophole was given two life sentences at the Old Bailey yesterday.

A rapist who taunted his victim in the witness box for three days because of a legal loophole was given two life sentences at the Old Bailey yesterday.

Legislation banning defendants in rape cases questioning their victims was passed last month - but Patrick Simms, 35, was allowed to question the woman because a series of court hearings began before the law came into force. He was found guilty of raping and causing grievous bodily harm to the 24-year-old university graduate.

The jury was told that Simms started a relationship with the woman but soon began to dominate her and became obsessively jealous before raping and assaulting her.

Martin Bowyer, for the prosecution, told the court the woman moved in with Simms soon after meeting him. But he became jealous and falsely accused her of having affairs. He kept her credit cards and would not allow her to leave the flat alone.

In July last year, she asked for help when she went to a housing office with Simms. Police were called and a doctor found a number of injuries. Mr Bowyer said Simms had been treating her in a way designed to dominate and humiliate her.

Simms, who sacked or was dropped by six law firms before deciding to defend himself, denied attacking the woman and referred to himself in the third person as he asked her questions from the dock about her sex life with "Patrick".

Judge Lewis Collins refused to allow the woman to answer some questions, and at one stage he warned Simms: "Don't ask questions designed to humiliate. I am not allowing this line of questioning because it is irrelevant and offensive."

After the verdicts, the jury was told that Simms, 35, of Finsbury Park, north London, had two similar convictions for raping a former girlfriend and causing grievous bodily harm. Police said he had been cleared of rape on three separate occasions since 1985.

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