'I have been shunned by community', reveals rape victim of ex-hunt master
A woman who was raped by a former Devon hunt master has waived her right to anonymity to describe the ordeal and her subsequent treatment in their small rural community.
John Norrish, 68, forced himself upon Jenni Southwood in his car after offering her a lift home following a ball in July last year.
The 33-year-old farmer's wife was too drunk to protect herself after consuming nine glasses of wine and 10 vodka and cokes during the course of the evening.
Norrish, of Mouseberry Farm, East Worlington, near Tiverton, denied rape but was found guilty by a jury at Exeter Crown Court and jailed for four years last month.
But despite the conviction, Mrs Southwood claims many members of the tight-knit community have "shunned" her and that the hunt has been divided into those who support her and those who believe that by drinking too much she placed herself in a vulnerable position.
She told the Daily Mail: "Yes, I did have too much to drink that night and, yes, I'm angry with myself. I've never drunk that much before and I never will again, but that man raped me, and no woman deserves that, regardless of how much she has drunk."
Mrs Southwood and her 37-year-old husband, Ian, whose family have owned Thorndon Farm in East Worlington for more than 200 years, said they were fighting to protect her reputation and were "angry" at the lack of support some have shown her.
"John Norrish was seen as a pillar of the community," she said. "A lot of people around here refused to believe that he would put a foot wrong. But he is a disgusting, vile man who lied in court. He deserved to go to jail.
"There will always be those who will say it was just two people who had too much to drink. It sickens me, but I have to live with that."
Mr Southwood, a former hunt follower, is still furious about his wife's rape and the treatment she has received outside court.
"So many lies have been told. It's been like Chinese whispers. We're sick of it," he said.
He and his wife, who works part-time as a customer services adviser for Devon County Council, attended the Tiverton Staghounds summer ball in July last year with friends.
Mrs Southwood said: "I don't drink very often, but for some reason I went a bit mad. I didn't mean to get that drunk – it was completely out of character – but I was just having fun.
"It was an exceptional night because Ian and I so rarely go out. I drank an awful lot more than I normally would."
She said one of the rumours circulating around the villages near her home was that she had willingly indulged in drunken sex with Norrish and cried rape only when her husband arrived with their car to collect her.
Another, she added, was that she had been "running around the party all night with no underwear on".
"It was horrible to be talked about in that way," she said. "I felt embarrassed and self-conscious. I started avoiding going to coffee mornings."
The couple, who have a three-year-old daughter, said it would take a "long time" to move on because of where they live, but that they are "trying to get on with their lives."