Published: 11:52, 03 December 2019
| Updated: 11:56, 03 December 2019
A brave circus performer, who successfully fought off a silent sex attacker, has told a judge how sometimes she wishes she was dead.
The young woman scratched and bit her assailant while a circus was operating in the Medway Towns last year.
She was attacked by a Romanian man who had been celebrating his 27th birthday just hours earlier.
Now father-of-one Gabriel Culin has been jailed for four years and three months after hearing how his innocent victim feared she was going to be raped and murdered.
He sat in the dock just feet away from the weeping woman, as her words were read out.
She said: "I feel broken and lost at the same time.
"That night I truly feared I was going to be raped and murdered and the saddest thing is that sometimes I wish I had died, then I wouldn't have to go through feeling all this pain and hurt."
Prosecutor Craig Evans told Maidstone Crown Court how Culin was celebrating his birthday.
The victim had drunk two small whisky and cokes but Culin was "paralytic".
"She left the party before 2am and went home alone.
"She went to sleep but woke up to the noise of the front door opening. She heard rustling but she couldn't see anything.
"The victim was startled and began to panic as she couldn't see anyone. She put her arm out as she felt someone was nearby.
"I thought I was going to be raped and then die at the hands of a stranger" - the victim
"Her hand touched the quilted material of a waterproof jacket. This other person said nothing at all and as she went to scream he put his hand over her face and she was pushed back onto her bed.
"She again tried to scream. And in an effort to protect herself she bit his hand twice and began scratching, " he added.
The victim then fought off Culin as he tried to use his weight to pin her to the bed but she managed to kick him away.
"She felt like she was going to be raped and killed but continued to fight him off. He continued to say nothing at all and she remembers just hearing herself scream." the prosecutor added.
She later told police: "I thought I was going to be raped and then die at the hands of a stranger."
The terrified victim then grabbed a roll of foil and a knife to defend herself but Culin had fled by then.
As the attacker was hunted he was seen by his brother with scratches "all over his face" - and it was reported to the police.
After his arrest, he told police: "It is true. I was drunk and I jumped on her but it did not mean anything."
Mr Evans said police forensic experts found Culin's DNA underneath her fingernails.
The victim, in an impact statement told the court: "Since the incident I have been feeling a mixture of emotions.
"It has got so bad that I now sleep with a knife under my pillow for protection."
Culin, from Constanta in Romania, came to the UK to support his partner and four-year-old child.
David Patience, defending, said Culin, who admitted attempted rape, was "paralytic drunk " and only realised what he had done when his brother pointed out his scratches.
"He is genuinely remorseful and will be deported to Romania when he is released."
Judge Philip St John-Stevens praised the victim for her bravery for fighting off her attacker.
A restraining order was also made for 15 years.
More by this authorPaul Hooper