A mother has told how she was raped on her birthday by her friend’s ‘polite grandson’ who she had invited to her party as a guest.
Catherine Gwynne – who has bravely chosen to waiver her right to anonymity to encourage other victims of sexual offences to come forward – revealed how she was attacked by Arron Murphy, 23, shortly after hosting a meal to celebrate her 39th birthday.
Ms Gwynne, who was friends with Murphy’s grandmother, had said goodbye to guests and was getting ready for bed when she heard someone in the kitchen.
As she came through in her dressing gown he pounced on her, dragged her into her bedroom and raped her.
Her young daughter, who is now ten, was sleeping just metres away.
‘I thought his nan must have left something at the party and he had come back to get it for her,’ Ms Gwynne, now 40, said. ‘I started to say hello but he launched himself on me. It was horrific.
‘As he dragged me from the kitchen I was petrified – I didn’t recognise him.’
After raping Ms Gwynne, Murphy ran off.
Mrs Gwynne called her boyfriend Shaun Phillips, now 39, and he contacted police.
Murphy was arrested the same evening on suspicion of rape but was released on bail.
He was free to walk just metres from Ms Gwynne’s home and went to the same pub as Mr Phillips.
He was tried at Cardiff Crown Court in September 2014 but the jury could not reach a verdict on a count of rape so it was sent for retrial.
‘When I heard this I was absolutely disgusted,’ she continued. ‘But it just made me more determined to achieve justice.’
Murphy’s grandmother lived in the same street as Ms Gwynne, and they had been close friends for three years when she told Ms Gwynne that her grandson was coming to stay with her.
Ms Gwynne remembered: ‘She was quite a bit older than me, but we hit it off. I saw her as a mother figure and my daughter McKenzie used to call her nana.
‘We’d go on holiday together, confide in one another.
‘It was over a cuppa one day she told me that her grandson Arron had been having a tough time at home and was going to live with her for a while.
‘She told me he was a bit of a wild child, so when I met him I was pleasantly surprised.
‘He was polite, and I spent a lot of time with him and his grandma. That’s why I invited them both to my 39th birthday party.
But now Murphy has been jailed for seven years and ordered to sign the sex offenders’ register for the rest of his life.
Ms Gwynne says she can ‘hold her head up high’ for reporting the crime and following through to see justice months later.