Woman waives right to anonymity to tell of horrific rape ordeal

Martin Tootell
Martin Tootell
Have your say

A mum who was subjected to a brutal sex attack by her estranged partner has spoken of her ordeal.

Christy Toulson, 31, has waived her right to anonymity in an effort to encourage others to come forward and seek help. Christy, from Chorley, is still suffering physical and mental scars from a prolonged and violent sex attack by Martin Tootell, the father of her children.

Martin Tootell and Christy Bates with picture of baby Scarlett-Rose

Martin Tootell and Christy Bates with picture of baby Scarlett-Rose

The 27-year-old former abattoir worker was sentenced to 12 years in prison for rape and intimidation at Burnley Crown Court this week.

She said: “He has ruined my life. I’m doing this to raise awareness so he doesn’t do it to someone else.”

Christy is still suffering from injuries inflicted during the incident on March 1 last year. Specialist nurses and police officers said they were the worst they had seen in 30 years.

Today, she told how she had gone out for the evening for her 30th birthday with Tootell, who had previously been violent with her.

When he was invited back to her home, the night turned into a horrific ordeal that lasted until the morning.

They had previously had an eight-year relationship and featured in the Evening Post when their nine-month-old daughter Scarlet Rose died in 2012.

Burnley Crown Court heard that Tootell - who appeared in the dock unshaven in a button-down shirt - was fixated on sex with his ex-partner, and their “volatile” relationship had “taken a dark turn” following Scarlet’s death, fuelled by his drinking.

Prosecuting, Timothy Brennand QC said: “He could not and would not accept his relationship with Miss Toulson was over.”

The couple had split up following Scarlett’s death after Tootell, from Chorley, became violent, but they got back together in December of that year.

They split again in 2014, and although they remained estranged, they spent time together in order for him to see his young sons.

Judge Justice Adkin said Christy did this “because of her charity and because he said he might have a serious illness.”

Tootell had previously mentioned to her he thought he might be suffering from cancer.

Speaking about the night of the attack, Christy said: “He started being really strange in the pub. He was being sleazy and I kept pushing him away.”

She recalls he vomited in the beer garden and was asked to leave by pub staff. When they reached Christy’s home and the babysitter had left, he started getting aggressive.

Christy went to call the police, and managed to press the 999 on her phone. But Tootell smothered her mouth and dragged her into the lounge.

She believed help would come because she had managed to press the call button - but it didn’t.

She said: “He pulled me into the front room and ordered me to take my clothes off. I didn’t know what to do. He said: ‘Do it now.’

“I was in shock, petrified. But in my mind I was thinking the police would turn up, if I could just bide my time.”

Tootell tried to restrain her with a dressing gown cord and she screamed he was going to break her arm.

She remembers: “I knew it was getting serious. He even tried to tie it around my mouth and hands. He was muttering to himself and started being rough. I didn’t scream, because I thought it would make it worse and the children were asleep upstairs.”

Tootell raped her - the first of several such attacks. Fearing for her children’s safety, Christy was too afraid to fight back.

Burnley Crown Court heard at one point, evil Tootell goaded her by asking: “What’s it like to be raped?”

Christy added: “I thought if he could do this to me what could he do to the children. That’s what kept me going. But it just didn’t stop.”

The attacks continued until the morning, and while injured and upset, he pressurised her into writing and signing a letter stating she gave over custody of their sons to him.

Afterwards, he made her go upstairs and he fell asleep.

She recalls: “It was as if nothing had happened. I thought he was going to do it again. He had locked the door and taken the key out.”

Christy managed to raise the alarm by texting her family. Police arrested Tootell and Christy was taken to the Lancashire SAFE Centre.

She says: “I didn’t realise how bad my injuries were. The SAFE Centre couldn’t examine me as my injuries were too severe. I was in agony. I was taken straight to A&E.”

She still suffers pain now along with post-traumatic stress disorder and sleep problems, and has had to move away from the county to make a fresh start.

She says: “Certain people, some of his family, did not believe me, even though I have these injuries and even though he has pleaded guilty.

“There have been comments made on Facebook about me, as if I am lying about it. It is one of the reasons I have waived my anonymity.

“He has ruined my life. I’m doing this to raise awareness so he doesn’t do it to someone else. I know him, he’ll get out of prison and be the same person.”

She says Tootell, latterly of Albert Street, Nelson, was controlling from day one of their relationship - but like many women she was flattered by his actions at first.

She said: “I was not aware of what constitutes domestic violence until now. From day one he was taking me to work, meeting me afterwards, I didn’t see it as controlling at the time. I thought he was being nice wanting to spend time with me. It’s not until I ended the relationship that I realised what he was doing.”

Defending barrister Hugh Barton said: “He is remorseful about the way he behaved in the relationship.

“There were times in the eight-year relationship that he did act badly and let himself down. He was jealous, over-possessive and did have problems with his temper.”

Judge Adkins said: “The effect of this offending has been significant on her.”

Sentencing him to 12 years in prison, adding him to the Sex Offenders’ Register for life and banning him from contacting Christy indefinitely, the judge added: “This was a humiliating and deliberately degrading act towards a woman who has shown nothing but kindness to you.”

DC Paul Mulrooney, and DC Gemma Lashley, of Lancashire Police, said: “This case sends out a strong message that all reports of sexual assaults, including domestic-related incidents, will be investigated seriously.”

A spokesman for the Independent Domestic Violence Advisor which has helped Christy, said: “It’s a fantastic result. I hope this encourages other women to come forward.

“I’m glad it’s over for her and she can hopefully move on.”

• If you have been affected by this story, support is available at rapecrisis.org.uk