A terrified woman who bravely fought off an attacker who broke into her home and threatened to rape her has told how the ordeal has left her mentally scarred.
Dominic Skiba’s petrified victim, a woman in her 60s, was in bed when she heard noises and became aware of her bedroom door opening then closing.
And when she went to investigate, she was confronted by the burglar who was hiding behind a door in her daughter’s bedroom.
A court heard how Skiba, who had broken in to look for drugs to steal, then launched his attack, grabbing her, punching and kicking her and chillingly threatening: “I’ll rape you”.
Yet the victim, fearing he would follow through with his threat, desperately fought back, scratching at his head and punching and kicking out during the violent struggle.
Skiba, 21, of Cumberland Avenue, Blackpool, eventually left, but a judge at Preston Crown Court heard how the incident had “completely broken” the victim.
And in a statement, the woman said: “The mental scars will stay with me for a long time. I think I would wonder what would have happened if I had not fought back.”
Today Skiba is starting a jail term of more than seven-and-a-half years for what detectives have called a “very serious” attack.
He had pleaded guilty to offences of burglary, sexual assault and also later inflicting grievous bodily harm upon his pregnant partner.
After the attack on the woman, he went on to visit the home of his then young pregnant partner where he launched an attack on her, grabbing her by the throat and pulling her hair.
He even threw items at her, but then stopped and apologised for what he had done.
She was left with a fractured cheekbone.
All the offences date back to last December.
Gary Woodhall, prosecuting, said the woman had got out of bed after her bedroom door was opened and then shut.
She shouted: “Who is it?”
And then she turned on the bedroom light in her daughter’s room was confronted by Skiba who was hiding behind the door.
She said: “What are you doing in my house?”
Skiba took hold of her and she started to defend herself by fighting back on the upstairs landing.
He told her: “Do you want me to rape you?”
He put an arm around her neck and both of them fell through the bedroom door and on to the floor.
He said: “I’ll rape you”.
Mr Woodhall told the court: “She was preventing him from doing anything more by her valiant fightback.
“She scratched his face and grabbed at him.
“The defendant took hold of her hair and began to drag her towards the stairs.
“She didn’t give up, fighting back. Halfway down the stairs, he gave up, let go and left.”
The woman then followed Skiba out into the street, screaming and shouting, alerting her neighbour in the process.
She complained that he had sexually attacked her and pointed to him as he walked away.
His victim was left with a black eye, cut lip, bumps to her head and hair loss due to him dragging her down the stairs.
But Skiba was traced because a letter addressed to him by probation was found in the hallway of the victim’s address.
Chris Hudson, defending, said: “An attack upon a woman in her own home is a pretty serious matter, followed by a sexual assault on her.
“It was not an attempt to rape her, but to frighten her, which is almost as bad.
“He went in to try and get drugs, thinking there would be some there. He should have turned tail and run when the woman saw him.
“That incident was followed by a nasty attack on his young pregnant partner.”
Mr Hudson said Skiba was immature for his age. But his remand in custody had resulted in his first experience of an adult prison.
Judge Jacqueline Beech, jailing Skiba for seven years,nine months, said: “This woman thought you were going to rape her. She informed the court this is why she fought as hard as she did when you took hold of her.
“Your attack upon her had completely broken her.”
Police today branded Skiba a “dangerous man” and said they were “delighted” at the sentence passed by the court.
Nick Connaughton, of Lancashire Police, said: “We have had the right result and put a dangerous man behind bars. He is a dangerous offender.
“I think the sentence accurately reflects the impact he has had on the two victims.
“It is really a very serious offence and the victim must have been absolutely terrified. She has done her level best to fight him off and she has been very courageous.”
DI Connaughton said it was “very rare” for victims to come face-to-face with intruders, but added that this offence had gone “a step on” from what the force usually deals with.
Police confirmed Skiba had a number of previous convictions to his name.
WHAT THE VICTIM SAID...
In a statement read to Preston Crown Court, the victim of the burglary and assault told how the ordeal had left her with lasting scars.
She described her confidence as being at “rock bottom” and is now on medication for anxiety, stress and sleeplessness, with “mental scars that will stay with me for a long time.”
The court heard she now finds it impossible to live in the family home, wakes at night at the slightest noise and worries that her door will open.
She now refuses to go out at night alone and is even nervous of spending time around friends.
She said in the statement she did not know what would have happened had she not fought back, and now feels as though she has “lost everything”.