Ipswich: Man tells of struggle to rebuild his life after rape acquittal
Rape victims face an unimaginable hell. But what happens to the men accused of the crime who are eventually found innocent?
Reporter LIZZIE PARRY speaks to one man trying to rebuild his life.
IPSWICH: It was a night that changed his life.
On July 31 last year Satpreet Singh went out for a night in Ipswich with his cousin.
But what happened when the pair returned to Mr Singh’s Salisbury Road home has left a permanent mental scar on the 28-year-old.
After sleeping with a girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, Mr Singh was accused of rape.
His life was turned upside down. Magistrates ruled that he had to move away from his friends, family and home, leaving him exiled in Manchester.
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For five-and-a-half months Mr Singh lived in the north west, having to visit a police station everyday to sign his name.
“It was a horrible experience living there, it was awful,” he said. “I felt isolated and alone.
“Signing in at the police station every day was a constant reminder of what I was there for.”
Recalling the night in question, he said: “It was just a normal night out. We ended up getting drunk and going back to mine.
“But it turned out to be a night that has changed my life.
“She made me out to be a monster - but I am nothing like that.”
In January the time came for Mr Singh to face trial at Ipswich Crown Court.
But after four days of evidence and witnesses, it was declared a mistrial by the presiding judge, who discharged the jury for legal reasons.
“We went through it all, but at the last minute the judge declared there was no way it could be a fair trial,” he said.
“It was horrendous. Everyone’s jaws just dropped.
“Getting prepared for a second trial was devastating, distressing, not just for me but for my family as well.”
And he faced a gruelling two-month wait before his second trial started on March 23.
“I was scared, I didn’t know what was going to happen,” he said. “The only thing I was confident about was that I hadn’t done anything wrong.
“It was all I was hanging on to.”
On March 25, he was found not guilty of two counts of rape.
“I felt on top of the world. Emotionally I was so relieved, like a big weight was being lifted off my shoulders,” he said,. “But it made me so angry, because I knew I was not guilty but I was forced to go through all this.
“Ipswich is a small town, I was born and bred here. People make assumptions and it is not fair, my case proves that.
“Now I am trying to move on and mend my life.”
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Mr Singh, who is now living with his family in Curriers Lane, said the experience has affected him, changing him as a person forever.
“This has made me stronger, I have learnt a lot,” he admitted. “It has affected my judgement of other people’s character, something like this teaches you to be a bit more wary, not so easily led by people.”
The former care support worker said he fears the stigma attached to being charged with rape will hinder him in his attempts to get back into work, despite his innocence.
“It is hard to find the confidence to get back into it, this has wrecked my confidence,” he added. “I feel the stigma is still there, like a weight around my neck.
“I did not do this terrible thing, but my name has been dragged through the mud.”
Under the Sexual Offences Act 2003 his accuser must remain anonymous.
Mr Singh does empathise with the true victims of rape and said: “For all those girls out there who have been raped, the real victims, cases like this are appalling.
“I feel sorry for them.
“Anybody who does something terrible like that should be sent to prison.
“I will never forget this, it will always be with me. I just have to try and move on.
“My friends and family were devastated. I want to thank my parents, family and friends for standing by me through it all.
“If it weren’t for them, I don’t know what I would’ve done. I was at breaking point.”