A woman who was attacked by the notorious ‘Early Bird Rapist’ has told how she thinks chatting with him throughout the ordeal kept her alive.
Yolande Kennedy was just 18 years old when she was raped on her way to work early one morning by Christopher Clark, in 1985.
He put a knife to her back as she waited for the bus, and dragged her into a nearby desolate farmyard and told her ‘I’m going to make love to you.’
The sicko evaded justice for more than 30 years, until a breakthrough in DNA evidence.
Clark – nicknamed the Early Bird rapist following a string of morning sex attacks across Essex in the 1980’s – was finally caught after detectives reviewed the case in 2016.
He was found using advances in DNA technology just weeks away from a parole hearing about his release, and was jailed for 13 more years.
Yolande, now 53, spoke to the Real Fix podcast, which features people telling their own true life stories, in their own words.
Now a mum-of-two who lives in Florida, she said: “I was talking to him throughout while he was carrying out the attack.
“I was asking him why he’s doing what he’s doing, trying to communicate with him.
“I wanted to get through to him that I wasn’t just a piece of flesh, that I was a human being and this was totally wrong.
“I’m convinced to this day that that what saved me as I managed to resonate with him person to person.
“He ran off after that, but not before coming back to retrieve his knife on the floor that he’d left behind.
“At that point I thought I was dead, that he was going to slit my throat, but thankfully he just decided to flee.”
Clark was branded the Early Bird Rapist following a string of shocking morning sex attacks at homes across Essex in the 1980s.
He was caught and jailed for life in 1997 for a separate sex attack in Bristol, but was just weeks away from a parole hearing when detectives made their breakthrough on the Essex case.
Yolande’s case was reviewed by detectives in 2016 and a match was found using advances in DNA technology.
She bravely waived her rights to anonymity as the victim of a sexual assault and attended court where she looked her attacker in the eyes as he was sentenced.
She said: “You made me feel like nobody. You are a sad old man who will die in pain for what you have done”
Clarke was handed a 13 years sentence at Basildon Crown Court with a five years’ extended licence period.
Yolande now lives a happy life in Florida with her family but admits to this day she is “always looking over her shoulder”.
She spoke to the team at the Real Fix podcast – which features real life people telling their own extraordinary stories in their own words.