Pregnant rape victim sees rapist jailed for 20 years
A pregnant woman who was twice raped and almost strangled to death was in court to see her attacker jailed for 20 years.
The 32-year-old victim spoke yesterday of being "petrified" throughout the remaining months of pregnancy that her unborn baby could be brain damaged.
Because she twice lost consciousness during the sex attack, it was thought the infant might have been starved of oxygen.
However, she gave birth to a healthy baby a few months ago – before giving evidence against Arturas Ardavicius (26) in a recent Leicester Crown Court trial.
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He was convicted by a jury of attempted murder and two rapes, in the early hours of July 7.
The victim, a prostitute, would have died if two milkmen had not chanced upon the scene as she was being throttled on a remote dirt track in Richard III Road, near Kirby and West's depot, in Leicester.
After the hearing, she said: "I'm relieved it's all over and glad about the sentence.
"He's scum. At least he won't be able to harm other women.
"I will never forgive him. I feel hatred towards him and what he put me through, knowing I was pregnant.
"He could have killed me and the baby. I still have flashbacks and nightmares. I was convinced I was going to die.
"I was petrified until I gave birth that the baby could be harmed.
"Until after all the tests were done, I was really scared.
"The two milkmen saved my life and I'm so grateful. I don't work the streets any more – I can't leave the house unaccompanied.
"Ardavicius robbed me of my confidence and independence, but at least seeing him locked up gives me closure.
"I can start rebuilding my life."
During the trial the court heard Ardavicius picked up the victim in Highfields.
He drove her to the dirt track and turned violent during consensual sex in the car.
Mary Prior, prosecuting, said he twice throttled her until she blacked out whilst raping her. When the victim fled, he got her on the ground and was strangling her again when Kirby and West milkmen Mick Swinn and Peter Welsh arrived for work.
Ardavicius, a Lithuanian, of Bonchurch Street, off Fosse Road North, Leicester, still maintains his innocence.
The court heard that in 2005 he was jailed for four years in his homeland, for stabbing two men.
Edward Barr, mitigating, said: "He came to the UK with his girlfriend, with the best possible intentions, to find work.
"Until this matter, his life in Leicester was blameless."
Judge Simon Hammond commended both milkmen and Leicestershire Police Signal Team, specialising in rape, led by Det Const Nikki McLatchie.
He described the attack as "excruciatingly painful" and said: "Prostitutes deserve to be protected, like all women, from violent men.
"The victim behaved with courage and dignity when she gave evidence.
"The defendant is assessed as being a high risk of causing serious harm to the public."
The victim also said afterwards: "The police have been fantastically supportive. I was worried I wouldn't be believed because I was a working girl."
Det Const McLatchie said after the case: "I'm pleased with the result and the sentence reflects the seriousness.
"The victim has been so brave. I hope it encourages others to report offences and know they will be treated seriously."