Ealing Vicarage rape victim never got over brutal attack - husband


The husband of late campaigner Jill Saward said she never got over the horrific rape which led to her fighting for victims' rights.

Vicar's daughter Ms Saward became the first rape victim to waive her right to anonymity to speak about a sexual assault after being attacked at her home in 1986 while her father and boyfriend were tied up.

The brutal attack, which came to be known as the Ealing Vicarage Rape, received widespread attention after judge Mr Justice Leonard said the trauma suffered by her "had not been so great".

She died aged 51 in January and her life will be celebrated at a memorial in Nefyn, north-west Wales, on Saturday.

Speaking to the Mirror, husband Gavin Drake said: "It was always there, it was always something in the background. She lived a full life, a life full of joy, a healthy life.

"But it was always there. She never fully got over it. I don't think many people do.

"So much change has been brought about by Jill's work, but the way victims are treated is still appalling. There is still so much under-funding from government for sex assault services."

Martin McCall, then 22, was jailed for five years for raping Ms Saward and five years for aggravated burglary.

Christopher Byrne, who was 22 at the time, was sentenced to three years for rape and five years for aggravated burglary and assault.

Gang leader Robert Horscroft, then 34, who played no part in the rape, was sentenced to 14 years for burglary and for assaulting Ms Saward's father.

Byrne's brother Andrew was beaten unconscious in jail before he could be questioned by police and died after spending four years in a coma.

Born in Liverpool in 1965, Ms Saward once wrote she had no issues with being "tagged" as a rape victim, adding: "I make no complaint about this tag as it has enabled me to challenge politicians and work for change."

Her work over the last three decades saw her advise police and the judiciary on how best to deal with sexual assault and rape cases, as well as numerous media appearances campaigning for the rights of victims of sex attacks.