Marina Adams, 45, Bognor Regis speaks out about her horrific ordeal...
My phone beeped with a text, and I smiled like a giddy schoolgirl.
I had a great time tonight. When can I see you again? it read.
It was autumn 2009, and I’d just got home from a first date with Olexandr Volynets.
A single mum to my then 4-year-old daughter, my social life was pretty non-existent.m So I’d turned to online dating.
Olexandr was a window fitter who’d moved to the UK from Ukraine. Charming and kind, he seemed like a sweet guy. And he’d travelled from London to Bognor Regis to meet me.
‘Bonus points for effort,’ I’d told him, impressed.
Soon, we were an item.
The next few weeks were a whirlwind. Olexandr showered me with love and attention.
But, over time, I noticed he’d lie about petty things like what he was doing or where he was.
After a few months together, I decided he wasn’t for me.
‘It’s not working,’ I told him.
But, shortly after, I realised I was pregnant.
‘Let’s make it work for the baby,’ Olexandr begged me, but my feelings hadn’t changed.
Only, Olexandr wouldn’t take no for an answer, and bombarded me with texts and phone calls.
‘I love you. Please take me back,’ he pleaded.
He’d leave bouquets of roses on my doorstep, turn up at my workplace, where I’m a hairdresser.
Months on, my patience was wearing thin.
‘Leave me alone,’ I snapped when he turned up uninvited one day at my parents’ house.
Overnight, Olexandr’s tone turned nasty.
‘I’ll have the baby taken off you, b*tch,’ he hissed down the phone at me.
Scared, I changed my number, but he still e-mailed me constantly, and friends would text saying they’d spotted him near my house.
I contacted police, and they issued Olexandr with warnings, but it was no use – it didn’t stop him.
Then, in January 2010, when I was six months pregnant, my parents offered to look after my daughter so that I could have a night to myself.
As I pottered about, there was a knock at the door. I edged it open to see who it was…
He barged in, throwing my phone across the floor.
Then he shoved me hard against the wall.
‘I’m going to have some fun with you,’ he smirked, pinning me to the floor and forcing himself on top of me.
‘No!’ I told him. ‘I’m pregnant.’
I was paralysed with fear as he raped me.
‘I’ll do that every day until you’re used to it,’ he hissed.
The next few hours passed slowly, with Olexandr refusing to let me leave.
He’s going to kill me, I thought.
My parents were due to drop my daughter off next morning.
‘Please leave before they get here,’ I pleaded with Olexandr, and, surprisingly, he went.
I put on a brave face for Dad.
‘Everything OK?’ he asked, looking concerned.
‘I’m just a bit poorly,’ I lied.
Feeling dirty, ashamed, I wrapped myself in layers of jumpers, as if to protect my body.
But I couldn’t bring myself to go to the police.
I worried they wouldn’t be able to do anything, and didn’t want to relive it all for nothing.
Next day, police knocked at my door.
‘We’ve arrested Olexandr for breaking into sheds,’ an officer said, explaining they’d caught him with a weapon.
‘He raped me,’ I blurted out, breaking down.
After giving a statement, I was taken to a clinic for DNA swabs, and a hospital checkup showed the baby was fine.
I’d done the right thing.
I wanted Volynets locked up before he hurt anyone else.
But as my bump grew, I fretted. Would my baby remind me of my rapist?
Months on, in June 2010, I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, and every single worry evaporated in an instant.
I felt an overwhelming rush of love, realising it didn’t matter who her dad was.
‘She’s my baby,’ I told everyone, besotted.
In May 2011, Olexandr Volynets, 34, appeared at Lewes Crown Court.
He denied one count of rape, but, after I gave evidence via video link, was found guilty and jailed for six years.
He was also made to sign the sex offenders register, and was deported to Ukraine.
My daughter’s 7 now – and, thankfully, doesn’t ask about her dad. I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.
I’m sharing my story to name and shame Olexandr Volynets, and to warn other women about how dangerous he is.