Rapist who left victim "traumatised" is jailed for nine years

Convicted Cramlington rapist Mark Heron.Convicted Cramlington rapist Mark Heron.
Convicted Cramlington rapist Mark Heron.
A rapist who went on the run during his trial has been caught and jailed for nine years.

Mark Heron failed to turn up on the second day of the court case, which continued in his absence and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Prosecutor Anne Richardson told Newcastle Crown Court the trial was heard in April and added: "He managed one day and then went awol."

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Heron, 45, of Arcot Avenue, Cramlington, was convicted of rape and later admitted a bail offence of failing to surrender.

At his sentence hearing today, Miss Recorder Jo Kidd said Heron displayed "cowardly behaviour by seeking to run away" and showed no consideration for what affect his absence would have on the case or the trial that was in progress.

The judge sentenced Heron to nine years for rape and an extra month for going on the run.

Miss Richardson told the court during the trial Heron had put his hand over his victim's mouth when he raped her, while she was drunk.

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Heron's "traumatised" victim said in a statement she has "nightmares all the time" after the attack.

She added: "I don't feel whatever sentence the court gives him will be enough.

"This has affected my confidence and I find it hard to be intimate with anyone.

"He has shattered the trust I used to hold in people in general. I'm scared in case I bump into him, the fear is always on my mind."

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Liam O'Brien, defending, said Heron, who leads an "isolated and solitary" existence and has few friends, continues to deny the rape offence.

Mr O'Brien said: "As far as he is concerned he is not guilty of the offence but the jury convicted him and he falls to be sentenced for a very serious offence of rape on a young, vulnerable complainant."