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21 March 2013, 11:07
A man with a history of domestic violence who attacked and raped his girlfriend, then hid her in a flat in Wymondham has been jailed.
Jason O'Dell, 43, launched a violent assault on the 38 year old at her home in Kendal Way, Cambridge, on September 5, last year, when he fractured five of her ribs, gave her two black eyes and broke her nose.
To hide the assault he kept her holed up in his Norfolk flat for two weeks, made her dye her hair so she would not be recognised and subjected her to horrific abuse.
During that time he raped her while she was in agony from the injuries inflicted by the assaults.
Those incidents were just part of a catalogue of abuse she suffered, which included: Throwing a lamp at her; breaking her nose three times; stubbing out cigarettes on her skin and throwing her possessions out of her Cambridge home when it was raining.
At one point during her ordeal O'Dell ordered her to scrub her own blood from the floor to remove evidence of his assault.
He also raped her in his car on September 16.
O'Dell denied the offences but was convicted of three rapes, two counts of actual bodily harm, common assault, criminal damage and affray following a trial at Norwich Crown Court.
O'Dell, who has 20 previous convictions for a total of 79 offences, was jailed for life and must serve a minimum of nine years.
The victim, who has waived her right to anonymity on the basis the case can be fully reported, however has asked not to be named, said: "I only met him in July last year, I didn't plan to get into a relationship with him but I was helpless against his mind games. It all built up to September 5, my son's birthday. Then bang, it all started. After that I just couldn't get out of the cycle of his beating and abusing me.
"From the moment I met him, I had a feeling deep down that something bad was going to happen but didn't know what to do to stop it.
"I'm a strong person but he completely messed my head up. It's like I have been on another planet these last few months.
"I have lost a really well-paid job, had to move completely out of the area away from my children and start all over again. If it wasn't for the Salvation Army and other charities I would be on the streets.
"If I hadn't gone to police I have no doubt he would have come after me. Even if I had managed to get away there would be another woman out there who would be his next victim. He might have even ended up killing her. He almost killed me.
"I just hope this gives other victims the strength to come forward and speak up."
DC Owen Hurley from Cambridgeshire Police spoke to Heart reporter Tom Horn after the sentencing:
Detective Constable Owen Hurley said: "The victim in this case has shown great courage. Without her fortitude this prosecution could never have succeeded and O'Dell would have still been free to hurt others.
"The support offered to her by her friend and a concerned family member, who had also contacted police, was crucial to keeping her safe. Everyone can play a part in tackling domestic abuse.
"O'Dell spent most of his life in Cambridge and had a reputation for violence. I want to thank those witnesses who came forward and made statements about his past behaviour and his publicly violent and intimidating actions.
"Domestic abuse causes long-term harm to victims and their children. As in this case it can escalate to a level which is life threatening.
"We will continue to intervene, support victims and bring offenders to justice."