April 2022

Mum was raped days after giving birth by ‘smooth talking’ predator

A traumatised mum was raped by a manipulative and violent predator just days after she gave birth.

Kelly* (not her real name), from Liverpool, met 38-year-old John Wood at a conference.

Care worker Wood, originally from the Cheshire area, was living in Dowanhill Street, Glasgow at the time and the pair began chatting online.

Kelly had little idea of the true nature of the man she was growing closer to, and said that she was feeling low and vulnerable after another long-term relationship had broken down. After weeks chatting almost every day online and on the phone, she travelled to Glasgow to visit him.

She said: “It’s difficult to explain. I was talking to him for around two or three months before I went to Glasgow and he was just very intelligent, very confident, and quite smooth-talking. Just always saying what you needed to hear. He was a manipulator.

“The first time he raped me was the very first time I went to visit him. Meeting him was completely different to talking online, he was slimy and pervy, I didn’t find him attractive at all and I just wanted to go home.

“I said no, but he raped me. It seems ridiculous now, I can’t really explain it, but at the time I had a very stereotypical view of rape; I thought you can only be raped if you are dragged off the street. I thought no-one would believe me.”

Kelly, for reasons she said she finds difficult to understand, continued the relationship, and after several months Wood left Glasgow and moved in with her at her home in Liverpool. She described their relationship as “terrible” and Wood as controlling, abusive and physically violent.

However, she soon realised she was pregnant – a situation which left her feeling even more trapped. And Kelly’s nightmare deepened when Merseyside Police and a social worker arrived at her house to make a disclosure under Clare’s Law – which enables the police to disclose information about a someone with a previous history of abusive or violent offending to a partner who may be at risk.

She said: “They told me that some years ago in Scotland he had been arrested and questioned on suspicion of raping a 15-year-old girl, but the case had been dropped. He denied it and told me the girl had come forward and said she was lying which is why he wasn’t charged.

“Deep down I didn’t really believe him, but I didn’t know what to do and he was quite physically and mentally abusive along with the sexual abuse.

“He would scream and shout at me, call me nasty names, told me I was thick and stupid. I was not allowed to go out with my friends, he would choose what I was wearing. There were times when I didn’t want to have sex but I thought it was easier to just accept it.”

Kelly said Wood continued to make her life hell after her baby was born. She said: “The second time he raped me my baby was only 10 days old. I don’t think any woman wants to have sex 10 days after they have a baby; I was not healed from giving birth and I was still literally bleeding. I was in bed and he just came in, I was scared, I didn’t know what damage he would do to me.

“He knew he was hurting me, I remember shouting out in pain and saying stop, and I am quite a loud person. He ended up sleeping downstairs on the couch. He fully knew what that was.”

As their toxic relationship continued, Kelly said her colleagues at work began to realise things were not right at home. Some of her concerned workmates even pulled her to one side and encouraged her to “make sure she was safe”.

Kelly says the “terrible relationship” finally came to an end after she discovered Wood had been using dating websites to meet men for sex, although he continued living in her house as he had nowhere else to go.

But while they were no longer together, Kelly’s ordeal was far from over. She said: “One night I was in bed going to sleep and he came upstairs and into my bedroom, he started trying to initiate something.

“That time I was quite forceful, I told him to ‘get the f*** out’ and get off me. That time was probably the most violent rape, he pinned me down and hurt me. There was no doubt at all for me, at that point it was clear what it was.”

This final incident is what led Kelly to report Wood to Merseyside Police, and he was arrested and released under investigation. Kelly said that despite facing a rape investigation, Wood spent that time “living his best life” and even moved to Turkey for several months, where he was working as a diving instructor.

To her dismay, she was informed after around nine months that he would not be charged.

She twice appealed the decision, and twice was told there was not enough evidence to bring a case to court. However, she later received a call from a detective with Police Scotland.

She said: “They told me they had been investigating John Wood and he had been charged with raping another woman in Scotland. They drove down to see me and took a statement.”

It turned out Wood had twice raped another woman, *Lisa (not her real name) at his flat in Glasgow shortly before he met Kelly. Although Lisa had not felt strong enough to report the incidents for several years, she got word via associates of Wood that he had been arrested in England for a similar crime and contacted police.

Wood was additionally charged with the rape of Kelly in Glasgow. The other rapes against her, committed in Liverpool, were included “on the docket” – meaning under Scottish law they were used as evidence against him in court but did not result in specific charges and were not reflected in sentencing.

Wood denied raping either woman and shockingly claimed Kelly was trying to frame him because she was angry he had cheated on her. But a jury in Glasgow’s High Court saw through his lies in under an hour and convicted him of raping both women.

Wood was jailed for six years, and must sign the sex offenders’ register indefinitely