February 2021

Paedophile raped child then used fake social media profiles to speak to ‘haunted’ victim

A former rugby union player who raped a 12 year old schoolgirl after he secretly became obsessed with her has been jailed for more than 13 years.

Damien Twizell, 33, raped the girl at a house before later posing as two youths on Snapchat to hound her with sexually explicit messages.

Twizell was arrested last October after he himself suggested the distressed girl report him to police when she sent back Snapchat messages saying she had been raped – not realising she was communicating with her attacker.

The former prop forward of Tyldesley, Greater Manchester who previously met the girl through friends was found to have kept pictures of the victim on his mobile phone.

He hold detectives: ‘I’ve f****** destroyed her haven’t I – I’m an idiot.’

In a statement the girl who is now undergoing counselling said: ‘I have suffered frequent flashbacks and they never go out of my head.

‘I don’t even like sitting in silence as I think it will make them come back. I have nightmares and see dark figures behind me only to turn round to find no one there. I see non existent figures in the mirror and I keep thinking he is watching me.

‘I don’t know what impact this will have on me at school. I am self conscious and now have a fear of men and being alone with them, I am paranoid all the time and am constantly anxious. My life has been turned upside down and the feelings I get have been affecting my entire life.

‘There is not a single element of my life that has not been affected by what he did to me. I do not know why this happened and it feels too much to handle.’

Twizell pleaded guilty to 10 counts, including assault of a child under the age of 13 by penetration on 10 occasions; rape of a child under 13; sexual assault of a child under 13; sexual communication with a child; causing a child to engage in sexual activity; and taking indecent images.

Fiona Clancy prosecuting said: ‘She has suffered severe psychological harm.. He obtained her Snapchat details and sent her messages posing as a young person and deceiving her as to his true identity.

‘In the course of such online conversation he engaged in sexual communications. At one stage she disclosed she had been raped and he told her she should reveal that to someone. There was a degree of planning to this offence.’

The court heard the girl’s parents were said to be ‘shocked and devastated’ by their daughter’s ordeal.

Twizell will have to sign the Sex Offender Register for life and will be barred from contacting children under the terms of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order.

He was sentenced to 13 years and four months jail and will be on parole for an extra year under the terms of an extended sentence.

Sentencing, Judge Timothy Stead told Twizell he had engaged in ‘particularly insidious and unpleasant offending’ and told him: ‘The girl will have to live with and deal with as best as she can the knowledge of what happened to her.

‘The effect on her cannot be overstated. She is continually relieving the events she has been made subject to. She has flashbacks and nightmares and they are a worrying indication of the depth of damage is caused.

‘The damage to her continues and is difficult to calculate.’

Twizell played Rugby Union with Tyldesley First XV RUFC.