5:42pm Monday 12th March 2012
THE husband and mother-in-law of an alleged rape victim said they did not believe she had been raped when she first told them of her attack, a court has heard.
Antoni Imiela, aged 57, is accused of raping Sheila Jankowitz in Forest Hill, on Christmas Day in 1987.
The Old Bailey heard Imiela has been convicted for of seven rapes which took place between November 2001 and autumn 2002.
Jurors heard earlier how Mrs Jankowitz argued with her husband while out drinking on Christmas Eve, and had headed to another pub alone. Returning to her flat, she found her husband was not in and left again. But as she walked up a path toward the main road a man ran towards her.
It is alleged that this man then grabbed her, dragged her backwards to some wasteland and subjected her to a number of physical and sexual assaults.
Giving evidence at the Old Bailey today, the alleged victim's mother-in-law, Jill Stevens, described the events that took place when she returned home.
She said: "She said 'I've been raped' and she was very upset.
"I didn't believe her, I thought she was trying to upset my son.
"For him that was the worst - he sees himself as the woman's protector and for his wife to come home and say she'd been raped was too much."
She added: "Her right eyebrow and forehead were swollen and red."
Mrs Stevens also told jurors that her daughter-in-law's clothing was covered in dirt and that initially, her son did not believe his wife either.
She told the court: "He felt that when she said she had been raped, initially he felt that she was just exaggerating an assault.
"He then realised that she was telling the truth and then he got very angry about it because for him, he is supposed to be protecting her. "
Ms Stevens changed her mind and started to believe Mrs Jankowitz when she agreed to go to the police and to the hospital for medical examination.
The court was told that swabs of semen taken at the time were studied by a Met Police cold case team three years ago, who found they matched Imiela’s DNA profile.
Imiela was arrested in January 2010. The following March he filed a defence statement claiming the woman, who has since died, had sex with him consensually.
He denies rape, buggery and indecent assault. The trial continues.
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