A MAN has been jailed for brutally raping an elderly woman and threatening to kill her in her own home in Widnes.

Steven Cormell was sentenced to 12 years with an extended three years on licence during at Chester Crown Court today.

The 46-year-old, of no fixed abode, had pleaded guilty to three offences of rape, three of attempted rape and sexual assault.

The incident took place on the evening of Saturday, December 14, last year.

The victim, a 77-year-old woman, had returned to her home in Widnes after a night out visiting family.

At 10pm she was dropped off by a relative and walked towards her home.

As she put the key in the front door, she was pushed from behind into the hallway. She made her way into the living room and sat down on a chair.

The offender sat down on the sofa and started talking to the victim.

He then forcibly took her by the arm into a bedroom and demanded that she take her clothes off before raping her.

The defendant threatened to kill her and took the victim between the bedroom and the living room.

The ordeal lasted for around an hour and a half before the defendant stood up, got dressed and fled.

The victim immediately contacted the police.

She was able to provide a detailed description of the offender and, following local enquiries, Cormell was arrested the following day.

He was subsequently charged and remanded in custody before later admitting the offences.

DC Gill Berry said: "Rape is a devastating crime and Cormell′s actions that night were despicable. This was a horrific, brutal and prolonged attack on an elderly woman in her own home.

“The victim was genuinely in fear of her life. No-one should ever have to experience what she did that night.

"The victim has shown remarkable courage and strength throughout the investigation. Since the initial report she has received support from specially trained officers and has a close support network of friends and family who have helped her throughout this ordeal.

"Stephen Cormell is a very dangerous man and has received a sentence that reflects the nature and seriousness of the offence he has committed. I hope that the lengthy sentence handed down to him will allow the victim to move forward with her life and help to bring about a degree of closure.

"Cheshire Police is committed to tackling sexual violence and the force has a Dedicated Rape Unit that helps and supports victims of this type of crime. I hope this sentence and the bravery shown by the victim gives others who may have suffered in silence the courage to come forward."