A teenager, who was raped by his babysitter as a young boy, found the courage to report his ordeal after watching a rape storyline on Coronation Street.
The 17-year-old boy, who until recently had not felt able to tell anyone of his torment, confided in his mum about what had happened to him after watching the rape story portrayed by the character ‘Carla’ on the soap opera late last year.
Daniel Bird (born 10/05/1988) of Northenden Road, Sale Moor was found guilty of four counts of rape following a trial.
Today, Thursday 9 August 2012, he was sentenced at Manchester Crown Court, Crown Square to four years in prison. He was also ordered to sign the Sex Offenders Register for life.
The attacks happened in around 2004, when the victim was eight years old and Bird was around 15 or 16.
Bird babysat several times for the victim and his sibling at their house in south Manchester and over a two month period, Bird raped the young boy on four separate occasions.
After each attack, he told his victim he was not allowed to tell anyone about what had happened.
Detective Constable Grace Hulse from GMP’s Public Protection Investigation Unit said: “It has taken an incredible amount of courage for the victim in this case to come forward and tell his family and the police about what happened to him. Today, thanks to his bravery, his attacker has been put behind bars for his despicable actions.
“It will take a long time for the victim’s emotional scars to heal, but despite everything he has had to endure, this boy has selflessly offered to take part in media interviews to tell people about his ordeal, in the hope it will encourage others in similar positions to find the courage to speak out.
“This case highlights just how thoroughly the police investigate all reports of rape and the support provided to victims from ourselves and other agencies such as St Mary’s, from the first time they call us and all the way through the criminal justice process.
“We have specially-trained officers who give a tremendous amount of time and support to anyone who has been a victim of rape and I would encourage anyone who has been subjected to such an attack to contact us.”
A spokesperson for Coronation Street said: “Having worked closely with the St Mary’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre in Manchester on this storyline, we are pleased that the portrayal and subsequent aftermath of Carla's rape on Coronation Street has helped this victim to seek the appropriate help and guidance needed.
“We never seek to highlight an issue - just tell the best story for every character. When we do touch on issues we obviously strive to make sure our research is flawless and the depiction an accurate and truthful one.”
Dr Catherine White, Clinical Director of the St Mary's Centre said: "St Mary’s provided advice to script writers and producers on how to portray the actual rape as well as advising on what the character might expect in terms of services at a Sexual Assault Referral Centre. St Mary’s was also on the set during filming providing advice so that the portrayal of SARC services was as accurate as possible.
"It is encouraging that our work with Coronation Street has resulted in people coming forward and reporting their experience and ensuring they get the on-going support they need."
Anyone who has been a victim of rape or sexual assault can contact Greater Manchester Police on 101 or 999 in an emergency.
St Mary's Sexual Assault Referral Centre in Manchester, can also be contacted on 0161 276 6515. This provides a comprehensive and coordinated forensic, counselling and medical aftercare service to anyone in Greater Manchester who has experienced rape or sexual assault. Services are available on a 24-hour basis and people can access them either as a self-referral or via Greater Manchester Police.