December 2011



A man who raped a 16-year-old girl in Carlisle in a horrifying early hours attack has been jailed for 12 years.

Mark Thomas Jackson, 50, had pleaded guilty to what was described as “the gravest of crimes” in a previous appearance at the city’s crown court.

Jackson – said by a senior police officer to be devious, dangerous and distinctly loathsome – raped the girl in Denton Holme early on October 15. He was arrested a day later.

DCI Jeff Ashton, who led the investigation, said today that Jackson, of St James Road, Denton Holme, Carlisle, had carried out a brutal attack on a vulnerable young girl to live out his depraved fantasies.

“I have listened to the 999 recordings from a witness who rang in whilst the attack was ongoing. You can hear our victim screaming and pleading with Jackson to stop, even from some distance away. It is absolutely chilling to hear.

“Virtually from the moment he committed the attack Jackson’s only thought was how to escape the justice he so richly deserved. He hid his clothing within minutes of arriving home and then disposed of that clothing when he went to hide at a relative’s address later that day.

“During the course of 17 interviews over three days he continued to lie and declare his innocence, even when confronted with the most compelling of evidence. Not once did he show a shred of remorse or even sympathy for what he had inflicted on the victim and her family.

“At one point he even had the gall to say “you should respect my feelings!” to the officers. He is a devious, dangerous and distinctly loathsome character who can now reflect on what he has done in prison for a long time,” he added.

DCI Ashton praised the victim and her family, the investigating detectives and Isla Chiltern, of Crown Prosecution Service, without whose help Jackson might not have been charged so quickly.

He said: “I would like to commend my team of detectives who worked tirelessly over the course of that weekend and the following days until Jackson was charged on the Tuesday night.

“As a result of some outstanding, good old fashioned detective work, Jackson was identified as the chief suspect by Saturday evening, only 17 hours after the attack. He was located and arrested the following day, again as a result of further good work by the team.

“Finally, and most importantly, I would like to say a word of thanks to the girl at the centre of this and her close family. She has been so brave in the way she has coped with this awful event and even managed to pick out Jackson in an identity parade, despite the obvious trauma she had been through.

“Her family have been nothing but helpful and supportive to the police and the dignified way they have conducted themselves has been an inspiration to the team and myself,” added DCI Ashton.

Following today’s sentencing, the 16-year-old victim said: “Without the support I have been given, I doubt that I could summon the strength I need to ensure this individual does not change my life any more than he already has.

“I would like to stress the importance of any person thinking nothing like this will ever happen to them, your life as you know it can be taken away from you in a matter of minutes, and you will never bring it back.

“Please stay safe and ensure if you are out and about you have planned a way home with someone you trust.

“Finally, I would again like to thank family and friends from the bottom of my heart for their support through this difficult time. I am forever grateful.”

In a statement, her family said: “We take no satisfaction from the sentence imposed today, as no jail term would ever, and will never, compensate for what happened on that awful night, when our world was turned upside down.

“We do, however, thank Judge Batty, the CPS and the legal team involved with the case, and appreciate that they must work within the guidelines laid down by law.

“We would especially like to thank DCI Ashton and members of his team, including victim support, for their professionalism and dedication, for the compassion they have shown our family and for keeping us informed every step of the way.

“We have been overwhelmed by the support received not only from our family, close friends and neighbours, but from the local community who have expressed their outrage at what happened.”