'Cowardly' Jarrow rapist jailed for 14 years after 'horrific' violent attack left woman bruised and bleeding
A sex attacker who dragged a woman down a secluded lane where he beat and raped her has been jailed for 14 years.
Vinny Balmer forced his victim against a fence and onto the ground, where she was punched and kicked during the 20-minute attack.
Newcastle Crown Court heard the woman was left "bloodied and bruised" and was in a "distressed and dishevelled" state when she contacted the emergency services for help after the shocking ordeal.
Judge Tim Gittins told Balmer, who had denied rape but was convicted by a jury after a trial: "The victim impact statement makes it clear that while the bruises and bleeding can fade and be cleaned, the psychological damage you have done has been extensive and will endure."
Judge Gittins branded Balmer's behaviour "cowardly and weak" and added: "You dragged her forcibly down a secluded lane, forcing her against a fence then onto the ground, raping her as she fought to fight you off.
"You added injury to the gross insult of that rape by punching her to the face several times and kicking her, leaving her bloodied and bruised in an attack that lasted something like 20 minutes or more, given the CCTV footage of you going to the scene and retreating from it."
Balmer, 28, of Hadrian Road, Jarrow, South Tyneside, was convicted of three offences of rape and another sexual offence after trial and admitted two charges of common assault.
He will serve two-thirds of the 14-year jail term and must register as a sex offender for life.
Emma Scott, defending said Balmer embarked on a cadetship in marine engineering to try and "make something positive of his life" and has only one previous conviction for possession of drugs, with no history of sex offending or violence.
Miss Scott told the the court: "A lot of friends, family and people that know of him in the local community have many positive things to say about him."
Detective Constable Karen Butterworth led the investigation and has praised the bravery of the victim.
She said: "This has been a truly horrific ordeal for the victim and I am so proud she has been able to stay so strong throughout this investigation.
"I hope today's outcome has given her a sense of justice and the ability to move on with her life."