A trainee soldier who dragged an 18-year-old woman into bushes and repeatedly raped her during a “nightmare” 45-minute ordeal has been jailed for 18 years.
Avan Mogridge pounced on the young woman as she listened to music on her way to work, pulling her into woodland before putting her through a terrifying and sustained sexual assault.
The victim was forced to retell the horrific details of the attack to a jury where she struggled to breathe and thought she was going to die.
Keith Hadril, prosecuting, told the court that the woman has since been on medication for “uncontrollable shaking” and was told by Mogridge after the attack that she had “enjoyed it”.
On Friday, a victim impact statement was read to the judge sitting at Guildford Crown Court where the now 19-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told how her life had been ruined in a moment.
“It’s difficult to find the words to tell you how I feel – I don’t know if they exist,” she said.
“That day changed my life forever, it ended it. I used to have dreams for my future and dreams to pursue my dreams. That woman I knew was destroyed. Scared, alone and frightened, frightened of everything.
“I used to be a bubbly and confident girl and enthusiastic about life and living it. I had dreams for my future and dreams to achieve my dreams. I am now traumatised, scared, drained and frightened.
“I used to love my life, my friends and family, my work, my independence, my hopes and dreams. But all that changed. One day in October, because of one person. My life turned upside down and my dreams disappeared.”
Judge Peter Moss told an emotionless Mogridge, who was dressed in prison-issue grey sweatshirt and matching trousers with black, thick-rimmed glasses and a dark-brown, he would serve at least 14 of the 18 years in jail.
He said: “It’s the nightmare of any lone woman to be confronted in the way that you attacked the victim, a terrifying ordeal with a man who was terrifying.
“Despite the words you used I accept that that you did not intend to kill her but you wanted her to believe that.
“No one who can have heard the victim’s impact statement read by Mr Hadril can be anything other than shocked by the trauma that you have impacted upon her.
“She spoke about herself in the third person which is an interesting insight into the damage that you have done.”
Avan Mogridge was convicted of two counts of rape, two counts of sexual penetration and of making threats to kill following a five-day trial.
A jury had heard how the 18-year-old at the time was grabbed by the neck as she walked to work at around 6.15am on October 22 last year. She was pulled into woodland and repeatedly raped during a horrifying 45-minute ordeal.
Mogridge threatened to kill his victim if she resisted and told police when he was arrested: “I’ve done nothing wrong. She was enjoying it.”
The court heard that Mogridge had described himself as bisexual before the disgusting attack but described himself as homosexual afterwards.
Weeping during a police interview played to the court during the trial, the victim said: “I thought I was going to die.”
During the brutal assault, the trainee recruit, of Carlby, Lincs., accused the teenager of ignoring him when he had approached her and warned: “You’re going to carry my child or die.”
During the attack, the victim tried to reach for her mobile phone but claimed the Army man pushed it away, saying: “Nice try. If you do that again or try to escape, I’ll kill you.”
“I kept thinking ‘what kind of sick person does this to someone?'” she told the jury at Guildford Crown Court.
“I couldn’t believe this was happening to me.”
The attack only ended when she broke free and ran towards a couple out walking their dog, prosecuting barrister David Brock had told the jury.
Police were called and Mogridge was arrested at the scene, near to the Spectrum Leisure complex in Parkway, Guildford, Surrey.
His alcohol levels were later found to be twice the drink-drive limit but he told police that the complainant had come on to him and had been kissing him. “She was consenting throughout,” he said.
The shaken teenager, now aged 19 years, told officers she had never seen her attacker before and that while listening to music from the Isle of Wight Festival on her headphones, she was grabbed from behind by the neck and dragged backwards into the woods.
“I was struggling for breath. I couldn’t shout out because he had his hand over my mouth,” she said.
“He tried to strangle me. He was controlling and strong and he seemed like he was the sort of person who knew what he was doing and what to say. He knew exactly how to scare me and he knew how to make me believe it.
“He said that if I didn’t do everything he wanted, he would kill me. He said he would rather kill me and leave me dead for someone to find me.”
During the trial Mr Brock described how the evening before the attack, Mogridge, who was based at Deepcut Barracks in Surrey, had been drinking with pals in Guildford city centre when he had gone up to a young woman in the street.
“She said he was drunk and behaving inappropriately,” he said, before adding, “He said he would show her a good night.” He told the jury that he got out his penis and urinated nearby.
“He touched her in the area of her bottom. But she managed to walk away and leave his company,” he continued.
Another witness spotted him hiding in some bushes close to the leisure centre shortly before the 45-minute alleged attack, he said.
A spokesman for the Army today said: “We can confirm that on Friday May 19 at Guildford Crown Court, Private Avan Mogridge was sentenced to 18 years imprisonment in relation to his convictions of rape, sexual assault and threat to kill.
“We are not prepared to release any personal information about this individual. We have a common law and Data Protection Act duty to protect the personal information of our employees and there is no good reason to release personal information in this case.
“We can confirm that in line with normal procedure when a soldier is sentenced to imprisonment, an application will be made for his discharge from the Army.”