A 21-year-old man has been sentenced to three years and 11 months for a rape which took place in 2018.
Mark Thompson of Hartlepool, put the woman through an ordeal described by the judge as having had a “catastrophic” effect on her both physically and emotionally.
Investigating officer Lorene Haworth of Hartlepool CID said: “ Even though this case was reported to police 19 months after the incident took place, I was able to work with the victim in the case to obtain sufficient evidence to charge Thompson and secure his conviction.
"I would like to thank the victim in this case for her bravery in coming forward. She has been exceptionally strong throughout the investigation and the court case. She describes the feeling of reporting the incident to us as 'a weight has lifted from her shoulders', which will hopefully enable her to move on with her life. “
Detective Inspector Louise Sproson said: “This case demonstrates that even when time has passed since an incident, evidence can still be found to lead to a conviction and justice for the victim. When you report a rape or sexual offence to police you will be listened to, and officers will do all that they can to get justice.
“If you have been victim to any form of sexual abuse, don’t suffer in silence. When you feel ready to report, we are here to support.