The brave victim of a horrific sexual assault has opened up on "the night I thought I was going to die" having survived her husband's vicious attempt to take her life in Gateshead.
Nezam Ziae Ghalate stabbed his wife of 25 years in a frenzied attack on January 8, 2022, at their shared home on Ellison Villas in Gateshead.
Newcastle Crown Court heard how Shahla Derakshsan had been sleeping when paranoid Ghalate woke her up and began screaming at her. He then tried to place a pillow over her head before stabbing her 11 times. Emergency services attended to the scene and found Shahla slumped on the floor upstairs, with Ghalate nearby. An investigation was immediately launched into the incident and Ghalate was arrested and swiftly charged with attempted murder.
On June 17 this year, the 53-year-old appeared at Newcastle Crown Court where he pleaded guilty and on Monday, October 10 he re-appeared at the same court where he was jailed for 20 years and must serve two-thirds in custody.
A victim impact statement, written by Shahla said: “This night I thought I was going to die. Nezam stabbed me so many times to the face, neck, arms and shoulder. He fractured my right arm and left me in such a state of distress and I was hospitalised for over a week. I have scars to my face and my body and I’m embarrassed about them and afraid that someone will ask me about them so I try to hide them. Although my physical injuries have caused me unmeasurable distress, I worry my mental ones are worse.”
Shahla, who has since moved out of the address, as she couldn’t bear to see the scene of the crime, added: “There’s a part of me that worries I’ve lost the ability to love and laugh like I used to. I loved Nezam for the full 25 years we were married. I looked after him and cared for him through his issues and took him back when he assaulted me. I always forgave him when he did bad things but I feel so guilty and don’t know why he did this to me. In my country, it’s the men who have the power and this is why Nezam thought he had power over me. But when we came here, he lost his power. When I wanted a divorce, he would prefer to kill me than do that.
“I have thought about whether I hate Nezam – I hate what he has done to me, and I never want to see him again. I want him to go to prison for a long time, so I don’t have to fear him anymore. It makes me so angry he’s caused me to lose so much of myself. I would like to say a big thank you to all the officers who helped me and have supported me through this. They’ve worked so hard for this result and I am so grateful.”
Speaking after the sentencing, Detective Sergeant Simon Wardle, the officer in charge of the case praised Shahla’s bravery and strength.
He said: “What has happened to Shahla has been an incredible ordeal that no one could ever imagine going through, but she has shown such courage and dignity throughout these proceedings. While this will stay with her, mentally and physically for a long time, I hope today offers some closure which can serve as that first step towards a new life, free from Ghalate and the control and power he exerted over their marriage – and over her.
“There is never any excuse for violence of this nature, and as a Force we are committed to tackling this type of criminality and would like to reassure our communities that domestic abuse and any type of violence against women and girls will not be tolerated."
For free and confidential advice and support contact Northumbria Victim and Witness Services on 0800 011 3116.