A Devizes woman has spoken of the sleepless nights and anxious days she has suffered knowing the man found guilty of sexually assaulting her is walking the streets of her home town after avoiding jail time.

The 28-year-old, whose identity is protected by law, was attacked 18 months ago.

Her assailant, former taxi driver Terence Owen, was given a suspended sentence on October 19.

His victim has spoken of the terror of knowing that, despite being found guilty, Owen is still free to enjoy a normal life in Devizes and she worries daily about bumping into him on the street or in shops.

She said: “He didn’t steal a bar of chocolate, he sexually assaulted a human being.

“It feels like he’s had no punishment. The sentence is almost nothing. He is still able to go about his day and no-one is any the wiser about what he did. It makes me anxious I could bump into him anywhere.

“I just don’t know what to do now, I feel let down by the justice system.

“I was relieved when he was found guilty but when I read what his sentence was I was angry. I just wish the sentencing was stronger.”

On the night of the assault, the woman had been on an evening out with a friend and the pair were dropped off at another friend’s house by Owen’s taxi.

After two drinks, the woman decided to return home and got back into Owen’s cab as she recognised, and trusted him.

A terrifying ordeal followed when the taxi driver followed his passenger into her flat. He subjected her to a sexual assault during which she froze and could do little other than utter the word ‘no’ as shock quickly overpowered her.

“I shut my eyes and willed it to be over”, she said.

The distraught 28-year-old called friends who, as she screamed and cried, urged her to go to the police. At 5am, hours after the assault, she gave her first statement to the police. More statements and police interviews followed until the case at Salisbury Crown Court.

The 59-year-old, of Freeman Road in Devizes, was sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment suspended for two years for sexual assault.

He must complete 20 rehabilitation activity requirement days and sign the sex offenders’ register for a decade.

His victim hopes by sharing her story she can help change how rape and sexual assaults are dealt with in the courts. And she hopes that anyone who has been in a similar situation will contact the police.

“I want people to know his name, his face, what he did,” she said. “This has been hanging over my head for a year now, and the fact he’s not going to jail and is walking the streets means it will never go away.

“Despite everything, I hope this makes a difference to women who are too scared to contact the police. I want people to feel brave and know that there can be a guilty verdict.”