Brave Sheffield student faces 62-year-old sex attacker in court

A courageous Sheffield student stood up in court to face the 62-year-old man who sexually assaulted her and detail the devastating impact his despicable actions have had on her
A courageous Sheffield student stood up in court to face the 62-year-old man who sexually assaulted her and detail the devastating impact his despicable actions have had on her

A courageous Sheffield student stood up in court to face the 62-year-old man who sexually assaulted her and detail the devastating impact his despicable actions have had on her.

During a hearing at Sheffield Magistrates' Court on August 4, Derek Peace of Crown Close, Kimberworth, Rotherham was sentenced to 20 weeks in prison, suspended for two years, after he admitted to one count of sexual assault.

Magistrates also placed the 62-year-old on the sex offenders' register for a period of seven years, ordered him to pay his victim £500 in compensation and to complete 140 hours of unpaid work.

The young woman Peace assaulted, who was just 19-years-old at the time, has now spoken out about the horrific ordeal.

"It was a really horrible experience," said the Sheffield Hallam student, who cannot be named for legal reasons.

She added: "Having to explain what had happened to the police was really embarrassing too.

"I was worried that people might not believe me."

When Peace carried out the sex assault in March of this year, his victim was particularly vulnerable due to the post-traumatic stress disorder she suffers from since the South Yorkshire shop she works at was held up at gunpoint in October 2016.

She said: "Two men came in, one with a helmet, one with his hood up.

"One of the men put a gun in my face and told me to get the money from the safe. My colleague told me just to do what he said.

I suffer from night terrors, and flashbacks since it happened. I couldn't get out of bed for a long time afterwards, I was very scared."

Despite the traumatic events of the last 10 months, the young woman still says she is glad she went through what she describes as the 'intimidating' court process to get justice.

She said: "I did find going to court intimidating, but I went for both hearings. I had the support of my fiancé.

"I read my statement out in court so he would know what he had done to me. The hardest part was seeing that his wife has stuck by him, even after knowing what he's done. He's admitted it.

"He wasn't sent to prison because he's got heart problems, I don't think that should interfere with me receiving justice, but I'm glad it's over with.

"I would tell anyone who's been through what I have to go to the police, and take it to court so that you have a voice.

"There were some people who didn't believe me but their voices were silenced when he admitted it in court."

Sheffield Rape Crisis offer free and confidential support to anyone who has experienced rape or sexual abuse at any time in their lives.

Call their helpline on 0808 802 0013, or visit their website by clicking here.

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