'He stole my childhood' - victim of 'pot-bellied rapist' Michael Acey
A WOMAN who was raped when she was a schoolgirl almost 30 years ago says she has relived her ordeal every day.
Michael Acey, then aged 21, dragged his ten-year-old victim into bushes near an old railway line at the back of Bilsdale Grove in east Hull and attacked her in April 1984.
As he left, Acey told her she could be pregnant.
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His victim said Acey, now 49, stole her childhood and destroyed her life.
The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, described how she has suffered nightmares every day and is still afraid to pass strangers in the street.
The 39-year-old wept at Hull Crown Court as she faced her attacker, known as the "pot-bellied rapist".
In a victim impact statement read to the court, she said: "This man destroyed my life since that day.
"Every single day my thoughts kept being brought back to what that man did to me.
"He stole my childhood. After the attack, I had to keep the lights on. I was scared of the dark, even though the incident happened in the daytime.
"I would only sleep when I could no longer stay awake. I would black out and it would trigger nightmares similar to a fit.
"I would fight and scream and thrash about as if the attack was happening again. It would take up to three people to restrain me and calm me down.
"My parents had to make noise to reassure me someone was with me.
"My whole family was affected. We couldn't live in the house and I had to change schools as it was so close to where the attack happened.
I was unable to leave the house alone, every unknown male of relevant age made me anxious. I was worried if that man had been my attacker.
"Even to this day I cannot walk down a street near a stranger."
Acey was caught by Humberside Police's cold case team after they reopened the investigation two years ago.
Forensic scientists were able to match DNA from the original crime scene to Acey using a new technique.
It forced Acey to plead guilty to rape.
Sentencing him, the Honorary Recorder of Hull and the East Riding, Judge Michael Mettyear, told Acey: "You stole the childhood of a young, vulnerable girl who was walking home from school.
"You not only stole her childhood but you blighted the rest of her life.
"It was shameful, disgusting behaviour and had terrible consequences.
"At the time of the offence, she was just 10 and was tiny for her age.
"You attacked her, carried her into bushes and raped her. It was a devastating attack and you tried to rub salt into the wound with the parting comment she might have babies as a result of what you had done.
"A substantial police investigation failed to detect who had committed the offence. You must have thought you had got away with it."
Acey's victim welcomed the conviction, but said he could never be punished enough for the trauma he caused her.
She said: "I have got my life back now, but he will never suffer as much as I have.
"No court can take as much from him as he took from me."
Detective Superintendent Dena Fleming, who led the cold case investigation, said: "It was a hideous attack on a defenceless child.
"My team have worked hard to bring the attacker to justice.
"The victim is delighted with the result, but says there is no sentence long enough. She just wants to move on with her life now."