23-year jail for rapist in Spain

London, Feb. 6: Western countries have got rid of the death penalty but can still come down very hard for violent rape.

Mohamed Fadel El Anssar, a 31-year-old Moroccan waiter, sat with his head in his hands in a court in Palma on the Spanish island of Majorca yesterday as judges sentenced him to 23 years for rape and attempted murder.

His victim, Cheryl Maddison, a British model, who waived her right to anonymity, has been widely praised for her courage in going to court to give evidence against her attacker.

Cheryl appeared on ITV's Daybreak programme in London today and said she hoped other girls who had faced similar experiences would also have the courage to come forward.

With her supportive boyfriend of a year, Kaine MacDonald, by her side, Cheryl said: "I couldn't ask for a better or longer sentence ' I am really happy at the minute ' I haven't had time to let it sink in properly. Twenty-three years is quite a long sentence so I feel justice has been done."

Her boyfriend, who accompanied Cheryl to the trial in Spain, nodded in agreement. He added he was "unbelievably proud" of his girlfriend and said of the sentence: "I don't think there's any amount of time you can put on for justice. I am satisfied that Cheryl's satisfied."

Giving evidence at the trial and seeing the man who had raped her over four years ago was tough but "worth it ' if I had to do it all over again, I would. I needed justice to be done and without us being there, it wouldn't have".

She told Daybreak she believed her assailant would never be caught until the Spanish authorities contacted her to say an arrest had been made. "I got an email and I stopped breathing for a second. I got used to the fact he was not going to get caught. It was such a shock and I didn't expect it. It was amazing."

"It's been four-and-a-half-years now ' the first couple of years I was a totally different person and one day I thought this is not me I needed to get back to my old self," Cheryl said.

In the incident which took place on May 30, 2008, in the holiday resort of Magaluf, Fadel followed Cheryl, then 21, to her rented flat after she had finished a shift in a bar at 4.30am.

Fadel, 31, hit her in the face, grabbed her hair and forced her into her apartment. He whispered to her that she should keep quiet otherwise he would kill her, according to the judges' report.

Once he was inside the flat, Fadel forced his victim to carry out a sex act. He then pushed her to the bedroom and raped her on the bed.

"Immediately afterwards, with the intention of ending her life, he choked her," the judges said.

Fadel then stabbed her in the chest. When she came round he forced her to stand with her back to him before pushing his knife slowly into her neck. Cheryl pretended to be dead until Fadel fled, before crawling out into the street.

She spent two weeks in hospital, with doctors saying she was lucky to have survived. Fadel was finally arrested in July 2011 after DNA on a cigarette he had smoked matched that at the scene of the crime.

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