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Teenager's anger after rapist released

PUBLISHED: 19:00 24 August 2002 | UPDATED: 12:31 03 March 2010

A TEENAGER who gave birth to her rapist's baby faces the daily fear of seeing him after he was released from jail to live on her doorstep.

Brave 18-year-old Lisa Askew has agreed to lift her anonymity - and that of her two-year-old baby Callum - to help her suffering sister, Claire.

A TEENAGER who gave birth to her rapist's baby faces the daily fear of seeing him after he was released from jail to live on her doorstep.

Brave 18-year-old Lisa Askew has agreed to lift her anonymity – and that of her two-year-old baby Callum – to help her suffering sister, Claire.

Claire Capocci and her family, who live yards from the rapist, claim a cruel campaign of harassment from him and his associates.

Lisa was raped five days after her sixteenth birthday and, despite a morning after pill given by a police surgeon, gave birth to a baby boy nine months later.

Last month, rapist Robert Hubert was released from Norwich jail after serving 21 months of a three-and-a-half year sentence.

He moved back to Shakespeare Road within two miles of Lisa's Morgan Drive home, which she shares with her baby.

Only three weeks after his release from prison, Lisa reported verbal abuse from her rapist to police while she was on her way to visit her sister.

She told the Evening Star: "I reported the verbal abuse to police and an officer came round and just told me to avoid the Whitton estate until it had all blown over. He said there was bound to be some bitterness and that if I saw Hubert I should just walk on the other side of the road."

But as well as visiting her sister Claire in Spenser Road, Callum's baby clinic is on the estate.

Lisa's mum, Kim Walker, went further.

She said: "My daughter was raped and now she has been told she's not allowed to visit her own sister. We haven't got a car so she has to walk past where he lives. Can you imagine what that feels like? Where is the justice in that?"

Lisa made the brave decision to keep the baby with the support of her close knit family.

She said: "It was a part of me and I couldn't kill it. I thought of it as my baby not his. I still do."

In law Hubert could apply to the courts for parental responsibilty and take on a role in the upbringing of his son.

Family lawyer Cathryn Smith said: "Under the circumstances and bearing in mind the child was conceived as the result of a rape, I have absolutely no doubt the court would deny such a request."

This month police and the probation service unveiled a multi-agency public protection agency (MAPP) to safeguard victims' interests.

Despite its boast to "ensure provision for victims to pass on their concerns", the family says it has been let down by all the agencies whose job it is to protect her.

Mrs Walker has given up counting the number of times she has reported Hubert and his associates to police for the alleged harassment of her family.

Not only is Lisa scared to visit her sister, Claire also claims she is terrified to leave her own home.

Claire and her husband Dominic, who have two children Joshua and Chloe, have also reported alleged harassment from Hubert and his associates. The family has even written to local central Suffolk and north Ipswich MP Sir Michael Lord calling for Claire and her family to be rehoused.

Mrs Capocci said: "We have gone through hell and no one wants to listen to us. I can't believe that he's been put straight back where he has been. Knowing what he did to my sister, they don't understand what that's like to see him every day."

On police instructions Mrs Capocci has kept a diary of alleged harassment.

She says the entries almost number a hundred.

But when the Evening Star spoke to Hubert he denied any wrongdoing. When asked about the alleged harassment, he said: "I didn't do anything. I never cause any trouble."

Hubert was convicted in Ipswich Crown Court on October 27, 2000 just over a year after raping Lisa in 1999.

He was not remanded in custody pending the rape trial, but was remanded three months before his trial and conviction due to alleged harassment.

Facing the greater charge of rape, Hubert was never charged for harassment, and the three months served on remand taken off his 42-month sentence.

Today the probation service moved to assure Lisa and she and her family had not been failed by the system.

While not able to comment on individual cases, the Tim Sykes chairman of MAPP (Multi Agency Public Protection Agency) which includes police, the probation service and housing groups, stressed the efforts made to ensure public protection.

He said offenders such as Hubert were released from prison on a supervised license.

He said: "If the conditions of probation are broken an offender will be re arrested by police and made to serve out the remainder of his sentence."

Offenders are risk assessed in prison and then again by probation staff on their release.

Mr Sykes added: "During that process we are duty bound to contact victims and give them details about the custodial process and conditions about the released.

"Their opinions are taken into consideration when a prisoner is released which is why sometimes they will be released to reside an approved hostel."

In addition to which, a convicted rapist like Hubert would spend the rest of his life of the sex offenders' register.

A spokesman for Ipswich Borough Council said: "We are very sympathetic to the family's situation and have used all the discretion we have under the policy to award points.

"These points will increase over time. It may also be possible for us to help Claire find a house exchange. While we believe we have considered everything relevant in this case, should new factors come to light we would be happy to reconsider our assessment."

But one question haunts Lisa, Claire and the rest of her family, a query echoed by all who hear of her plight.

How could a convicted rapist and his associates continue a campaign of terror with unchecked by the authorities?

Kim Walker said: "We have been to the police, the probation and the council. No one seems interested in either listening to us, or helping. We just want justice."

BABY Callum Askew was two in June this year.

Tall for his age with blond hair and big blue eyes, like his mother, he is a beautiful spirited toddler, adored by his mum, grandmother and auntie.

Most young mums find it tough. Harder still if you are a teenage single parent.

But imagine if the baby you adore was not just born out of wedlock, or the result of a one-night stand, but after you were raped five days after your sixteenth birthday.

One day, the child you love most in the world will do something that reminds you of the man you hate most.

Softly spoken Lisa is a caring mother and a determined young woman. She has an easy laugh and ready smile. But despite her doubtless inner strength still finds it difficult to talk about October 9, 1999.

When she woke that autumn day she had the concerns of any other teenager still at school at the start of an exam year.

When she went to bed she was expecting the child of a rapist.

Lisa knew her rapist, but not well.

He was three years old than her, a friend of her brother's who called out of the blue to meet up and talk over old times.

But when they met up it wasn't to reminisce. The 19-year-old dragged Lisa to an area of open fields on Whitton Church Lane and raped her.

A day later he was arrested and charged. The same time when police officers and forensic teams were combing the area, Lisa was given a morning after pill by police surgeons and the assurance she couldn't pregnant.

A month later the unthinkable happened and she discovered she was pregnant.

Mostly she says she can't remember. Others might think she has, reasonably, chosen to blank it out.

Her mother Kim speaks for her. She said: "You can't imagine how difficult it was for Lisa. She hadn't even had a boyfriend before and all of a sudden she finds herself raped and expecting a baby at just over 16 years old. For the first week after it happened I couldn't get her out of the bath. She would have six baths a day.

"The week she discovered she was pregnant was hell. We all went through all the emotions you could imagine. Then Lisa decided the baby was part of her and she couldn't go ahead with a termination whatever the circumstances."

Her sister Claire said: "It was when my daughter Chloe was about two and Lisa said she felt getting rid of the baby would have been murder. She always said it was her baby and not his. It was a brave decision. If it hadn't been for mum's help she would have found it almost impossible."

But as well as the internal demons, Lisa and her family were, even then, subjected to a cruel campaign of harassment from her rapist – who was not remanded in custody following his arrest – and his family.

Holding her son close to her, Lisa said: "When I first him after the rape I was angry more than anything. After that I just tried to ignore him."

"When I heard I wouldn't have to give evidence in court I was so relieved. At that time I was on anti depressants. It was a really difficult time."

The pregnancy was a roller coaster as Lisa struggled with emotions ranging from guilt to anger.

Her mother said: "Half way through, Lisa decided she couldn't go through with it. But by then it was too late for a termination. She was already ill with the pregnancy suffering from pre-eclampsia."

Even when Callum was born after a difficult birth there were times when Lisa – hardly more than a child herself and the recent victim of a serious sexual assault, couldn't cope.

Her mother said: "She went through periods of rejecting Callum, when she felt she really couldn't cope. But I tried to reassure her that those feelings happened to all mothers."

On October 3, 1999 the day of Lisa's seventeenth birthday, when Callum was four month old, she heard the news Hubert had changed his plea to guilty and she would not have to give evidence in court.

Lisa, then on anti-depressants, said: "I remember that day. The officer in charge stopped me as he was driving past to tell me the pleas was guilty. I was so happy and there were tears in the officer's eyes when he told me."

Just after Callum was born, Hubert was a constant visitor to the house – cycling past trying to catch a glimpse of his son.

Lisa said: "After that he gave up. There's no doubt the baby is his. I hadn't had a boyfriend before the rape and I didn't have one after."

Despite everything, through the love and support of her family, Lisa and Callum bonded into a happy young family. They have also made the decision one day, to tell Callum who his father is.

There is only one blight on their horizon, the cruel reality of facing her rapist daily.

She said: "I just want to get on with my life and I hope Claire and her family will be able to do the same. You hear a lot about justice for the victim. But I am the one who has suffered. None of this was my fault but we are the ones who are having to pay."

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