Get involved: Send your news, views, pictures and video by texting SUPIC to 80360 or email us.
Victim of Brighton rape says its never too late to bring attackers to justice
A Brighton rape victim has branded her attacker “despicable” after he failed in his appeal against his conviction.
Graham Wheatley was jailed for eight years back in April last year for the historic rape of a girl in her early teens in Brighton who is now 25.
He appealed the conviction at London’s Royal Courts of Justice where three judges dismissed the action and ordered him to serve out his time.
Speaking exclusively to The Argus, his victim said: “After the original court case I thought it was all over, I thought I could draw a line under it all.
“But he doesn’t care about anyone but himself, he has put me through it all again for no reason. He’s despicable.”
The victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was raped and indecently assaulted in Brighton and Hove by Wheatley.
She first met him in 2003, aged just 13. The same year he raped her before indecently assaulting her the following year.
She lived with the secret throughout her teenage years, only contacting the police in 2010 to prevent Wheatley doing the same to other girls.
She added: “It was six years before I went to the police but I want people to know it is never too late.
“I want to encourage others who have been through similar experiences to come forward. There is plenty of support and the police have been fantastic from day one.
“Naomi O’Keeffe (a detective constable in the child protection unit) has been fantastic.
“She has been there throughout the court case and now with the appeal. Even now it is over, she is still at the end of the phone if I need her.”
Police contacted the 25-year-old earlier in the year to notify her of the appeal.
She said: “It was horrible. To think he could be out on the streets and I could bump into him was terrifying. It was like I had to go through it all again.
“I was so relieved when I heard the result. I’m so pleased he will now serve his time.”
Wheatley, of Birdham Road, Brighton, will be required to sign the sex offenders’ register for life on release.
He was also served a Sexual Offence Prevention Order (SOPO) restricting his access to children.
If you have been raped then call Sussex Police 999. Alternatively call Rape Crisis on 0808 8029999 or Rise on 01273 622822.
For support visit www.survivorsnetwork.org.uk or call the helpline on 01273 203380.