A devastated mum has revealed how she discovered that her husband had “drugged” and raped her in her sleep.
Catrina Young, 28, from Ipswich, thought that she had found her “happily ever after” when she married Christopher Lander – but all was not as it seemed.
The couple had been together for three years and shared a son, so getting married seemed to be the icing on the cake.
But, just 20 days after the wedding, the couple were woken up at 1.30am by police banging on the door.
Shockingly, they’d come to arrest Christopher on suspicion of downloading indecent images of children.
And things soon went from bad to worse.
It unfolded that Christopher had downloaded thousands of appalling images and videos – and there was even sickening footage found of him raping Catrina in her sleep.
Catrina explained: “I thought I’d got lucky, for three years Christopher hadn’t put a foot wrong.
“I told myself it was too good to be true but, at every turn, he more than lived up to my expectations. He’d turn up with bunches of flowers, take me out to dinner.
“And then I found out the truth – I can’t believe I was married to such a monster.”
Catrina, who has three other kids from a previous relationship, first met Christopher, 28, in August 2012 when the pair got chatting online.
It had been a year since her first marriage had broken down and her friends had encouraged her to give online dating a go.
She signed up to dating site Plenty Of Fish – where she was contacted by Christopher.
Catrina had seen Christopher around locally and already had a crush on the road worker – so she couldn’t believe her luck.
The pair used the web to spark up a friendship for six weeks, before he visited Catrina’s house one evening once her children were in bed.
Catrina said: “Nothing happened that night, but he was charming and made me laugh.
“We arranged to meet a week later; soon it was twice a week. He could never get enough of me and it made me feel so wanted and desired.”
Things soon became serious and, three months later, Christopher moved in.
Within six months loved-up Catrina was pregnant with their son and, after nine months, Christopher proposed whilst the pair enjoyed a holiday to a Haven campsite.
Catrina, who used to work as a care worker, but can no longer work after her ordeal, added: “I had every reason to believe he was as perfect as he seemed.
“When we had our son he seemed to be the perfect father, he was so proud of him, he’d help with night feeds, change nappies and help all the time, doing the school runs for the older children.
“I will never get over the night when the police came – he was in the sitting room, surrounded by police.
“He couldn’t meet my eyes as the police told me what had happened. My legs literally went from under me. But even then I didn’t believe it.
“For the next couple of days, before he was charged, I still clung to the fact it was a horrible mistake.
“I felt sick, completely ill. He’d made me feel safe – we’d even discussed how much we hated paedophiles and yet he was one.”
Then just a few weeks later, with the experience still raw, police returned to Catrina’s house and asked her whether the couple had ever role played with her “playing dead” while they had sex.
Catrina said: “I was confused – of course we hadn’t.
“We’d had a completely ‘normal’ sex life. They then told me they had reason to believe he was raping me while I slept.
“I couldn’t take it in, it was revolting. I was absolutely disgusted to think he’d done that and couldn’t understand how he’d managed it.
“I still don’t know for sure, but I found sedatives in the cabinet, which I think he must have used.
“I often felt exhausted in the evening and would go to bed early, and he did used to cook for me and make me hot drinks in the evening.
“It was too long afterwards to do proper drug testing on my system.”
In May 2016, Christopher pleaded guilty to four cases of rape, four counts of assault by penetration, three offences of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, sexual assault of a child, two offences of threatening to kill, making indecent images of children and distributing indecent images of children.
The court heard that he had also threatened a schoolgirl he had sexually abused with a knife and threatened to kill her if she told anyone about him.
He was sentenced to 12 years in prison, but Catrina is still haunted by what’s happened to her every day.
As well as having to come to terms with marrying a monster, she says she’s been harassed and had anonymous mail sent to her accusing her of being involved.
She said: “It doesn’t go away. In a way I’m glad he raped me though, because it means he’s got a longer sentence – though it isn’t as long as he deserves.
“It’s so very confusing; you’d imagine you’d fall straight out of love with a man who did such disgusting things.
“But for three years I thought he was perfect, though my brain knew he was disgusting, my heart mourned for the man I thought I’d been with, for the future I thought we had together.
“I also felt so stupid for believing him and falling for him. One day I might try to find love again, but I know I will never be taken in again, I know what signs to look out for.
“But for the moment I’m concentrating on my children. I can’t even think about him getting out and wanting to see our son again.
“I never want him near any of us again – he doesn’t deserve to be able to see us. That man is not a father – he’s just evil.”