Serial rapist Shaun Hopkins handed life sentence after victim spotted him on Facebook

Anonymous woman said seeing her sex attacker's face made it 'true and real again'

Click to follow
The Independent Online

A rapist has been handed a life sentence after he was identified by one of his victims when she spotted his picture on Facebook.

Sex offender Shaun Hopkins, 28, was already serving a life jail term for brutally raping two women - leaving one pregnant with his child - in 2005 and 2013.

Hopkins, from Liverpool, has now appeared in court again after a third victim spotted his face online and came forward.

She had initially remained silent about her ordeal, but approached the police after seeing Hopkins' face in a newspaper article posted on Facebook.

Police said Hopkins used "extreme violence" against his victims during "brutal" attacks.

The father-of-two strangled a teenage student unconscious before raping and beating her in October 2013.

Years before in 2005, Hopkins raped a woman, leaving her pregnant with his child, who is now nine-years-old.

The latest woman to come forward was attacked by Hopkins in 2005 after meeting him in a bar.

Speaking anonymously to the BBC, she said: "I didn't want my family to know. I was embarrassed, I felt like it was my fault. I thought I wouldn't be believed.

"It's really hard what we're going through even now as a family."

Describing the moment she saw Hopkins' picture on the internet, she said: "It made it all true for me and real again.

"I was trying to pretend it wasn't happening but I phoned the police the next day.

"It's very surreal. I wasn't sleeping, I wasn't eating. It was just uncontrollable crying.

"I was just in a horrible place. I can't describe it. I was having nightmares."

Following Hopkins' sentencing in April 2014, detective inspector Kathy Goodwin said: "Hopkins used extreme violence against his victims both during and after the brutal sexual assaults he inflicted on them."

His previous victims also gave police permission to use extracts from their statements to show other victims what they had been through.

The 37-year-old woman, who was also raped in 2005, said it had taken her "a long time to meet another man and trust him".

The 19-year-old said she "seriously thought I was going to die" after she was attacked in 2013.

Hopkins was told by a judge at Liverpool Crown Court that his second life sentence will run concurrently, and he will serve a minimum of 10 years.