Northern Ireland

Aodhan Woods speaks out as men who sexually abused him are jailed

Media captionAodhan Woods, now 19, waived his right to anonymity to speak out about the effect the abuse had on him

A man who was tortured and raped during an attack by two of his former friends in a Belfast flat has said he thought he was "going to die that night".

Aodhan Woods was just 17 when he was tied up, locked in a cupboard and subjected to several sexual assaults.

Now 19, he has waived his right to anonymity as his attackers were jailed.

Darren Fu, of Drumart Walk in Belfast, will spend half of his 11-year sentence in jail. His co-accused who cannot be named got six years, half on licence.

The unnamed abuser was 17 at the time of the offence and a reporting restriction is in place which prevents his identity from being made public.

The attack took place on 30 May, 2014 when Mr Woods called to Fu's flat in the Stranmillis area of Belfast.

'Terrifying'

A previous hearing in the case was told Fu had ordered him to sell drugs and he was worried before entering the flat because he had not sold enough.

The attack began almost immediately and the court heard the pair subjected him to "exceptional degradation", holding him at knifepoint, burning him with cigarettes, and seriously sexually assaulting him.

The ordeal lasted a number of hours before they released the teenager, who then contacted police.

Speaking outside court, Mr Woods said: "I thought I was going to die that night. I will never forget what happened."

He described it as the "worst experience of his life".

Image caption Speaking after his abusers were jailed at Belfast Crown Court, Aodhan Woods called on others to "tell the police if you have been sexually assaulted"

"I didn't know what was going to happen and what they were going to do. The whole ordeal was just terrifying."

'Courage'

He was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after the attack but said he did not see himself "as a victim".

"I am speaking out to show other people that it's okay to go and tell the police if you have been sexually assaulted. I want people to find the courage to come forward and get the support that they need."

Mr Woods thanked his family and friends and the police for supporting him through the criminal justice process.

"I would say to anyone else who has been sexually assaulted, don't be afraid, don't hide it. The only way to move forward is to tell someone and you'll soon realise there is so much support. Don't be afraid to speak out."

The teenager welcomed the sentences given to his attackers.

Fu had pleaded guilty to four charges - namely false imprisonment, two counts of sexual assault, and rape.

His co-accused admitted six counts including false imprisonment, two counts of sexual assault and attempted rape.

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