THE bravery of a young woman who was raped in Cirencester has been applauded by police.

Matthew Dickens, aged 25, of Greet Road, Winchcombe, received was sentenced to six years in prison on Friday, October 20 at Gloucester Crown Court for raping a young woman in Cirencester twice on January 17 last year.

The victim told the court that she has been seeing a counsellor due to suicidal thoughts and severe mood swings.

She has also experienced horrific flashbacks of the incident during lectures which has significantly hindered her studies. 

She said: “This whole situation has had an impact on me in numerous ways. 

“This includes the initial pain which I suffered as it lasted for some two months, and my ability to form relationships and being in the company of men.

"I don’t like being served by men in restaurants or answering the door to delivery drivers. 

“My own studies have suffered as I can no longer concentrate on lectures as something always triggers a flashback in me.

"I am suicidal and am undergoing treatment with a counsellor. 

“I now suffer severe mood swings and shout at those closest to me. 

"It has changed the way I dress and no longer dress in the way my friends appear. 

"I also have difficulty wearing anything around my neck, so wearing a formal tie is now out of the question.”

Following the guilty verdicts Gloucestershire Police has paid tribute to the bravery of the victim.

Detective constable Rob Brown said: "I want to commend the woman’s bravery and determination to carry on supporting the case when it would have been understandable if she had decided not to put herself through it.

"I hope this sentence provides some level of validation for her courage. 

"In the process a dangerous individual has now been convicted at court and, potentially, prevented from wrecking other people’s lives.

"My message to anyone else who is a rape victim who is worried about coming forward is that you will be believed and that the criminal justice system is beginning to change.

"We are transforming the way that the Crown Prosecution Service and the police handle rape and sexual assault cases, and are working together to ensure that victims are supported throughout the prosecution process."

READ MORE: Graduate with first class degree jailed for rape in Cirencester