‘One of the most horrific crimes I’ve ever dealt with’: Burglar jailed for raping elderly disabled widow in Hyde home

By Matt Scrafton

The rape of a disabled widow in her 60s was described by a Manchester police inspector as ‘one of the most horrific crimes I have ever dealt with’.

Colin Hollinshead, 31, from Hyde, broke into the house of the vulnerable woman, threatened to stab and raped her on New Year’s Eve in 2012.

Today he was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment at Manchester Crown Court and ordered to sign the Sex Offenders Register for life.

The victim said: “He has practically ruined my life.

“I cannot sleep properly at night for fear that this may happen again.

“I’m having great difficulty sleeping and I keep imagining seeing this male who raped me over and over again in my mind.”

The woman, who has limited mobility due to severe arthritis, was asleep on her settee at her house near Hyde town centre – only to be awoken at 4am by the sound of clattering in the kitchen.

She went to investigate and was grabbed by Hollinshead who threw her to the floor and shouted ‘get me your money, go and get it’ – before hitting her and pushing her over.

The victim, a widow following her husband’s death several years ago, told the man there was £20 in the hallway.

When Hollinshead could not find the cash, he came back in a rage, grabbing the woman by the hair and banging her head – before searching her drawers and handbag.

He then told her: “I’m going to rape you. I’ll rape you if you don’t find more money and I’ll stab you if you don’t do as you’re told.”

He then raped her.

The woman added: “Now I face another battle in my personal life to try to reach some normality and attempt to try and get over what this male did to me.

“I am very nervous and wary of people, especially people who call at the door unannounced and have actually decided not to answer the door at times.

The man escaped from the house with a small amount of cash along with some jewellery – some of which were given to the woman by her late husband.

Detective Inspector Iain Butler of the Serious Crime Division said: “It is no exaggeration to say this is one of the most horrific crimes I’ve ever dealt with.

“The level of violence, both physical and sexual, was horrifically excessive and way beyond what would have been necessary to steal £20 from a vulnerable woman.”

Police were alerted to the vile act by a relative of the traumatised victim, who had received a phone called from the woman.

They were then able to trace Hollinshead and arrest him using DNA evidence.

DI Butler added: “The fact remains that his disgusting and degrading attack has left an already vulnerable woman emotionally damaged for the rest of her life.

“The only solace she can have is that this vicious sexual predator is now behind bars and can harm no-one else.”

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