HORROR ATTACK: Ballina beach rape victim recalls ordeal
A WOMAN who was raped in a shocking random attack on Ballina's Angels Beach has told a courtroom how she can still remember the "terrifying and determined" look in her attacker's eyes as she begged him to stop.
The woman, who cannot be named due to victim anonymity laws, gave a harrowing account in Lismore District Court on Monday of the impact of the ordeal.
It was just before 10am on Sunday, July 3 last year when the 29-year-old ventured down to the secluded Angels Beach for some quiet solitude.
The beach was almost empty that morning and the woman had sat down near the dunes only about 20m north of the pathway from the beach's central car park.
She watched as a man with a shaved head - Michael Allan Jeffreys, of Nimbin - walked past her toward Flat Rock, and then back again.
Jeffreys disappeared back down the beach path, and then reappeared, walking past her along the beach a second time.
But this time on his return, Jeffreys walked straight towards her.
He stopped a few metres from her and said "nice day", before stepping closer.
But this was no polite greeting from a stranger - Jeffreys was holding his penis in one hand and before she could jump up to leave, he pounced on her.
She screamed "someone help me" as loud as she could, but Jeffreys pushed her with his body on her back face down into the sand.
He was much stronger than her.
She tried to fight him, managing to turn and scratch his face. But he held her down.
"I just need to have sex, I want to have sex with you," he kept saying.
A few minutes in to the ordeal a father who had just arrived at the beach with his family heard the woman's screams and came running.
He chased Jeffrey down the beach and then on to the Coast Rd, until Jeffrey was arrested by police.
Jeffreys later confessed but told police officers "I thought she would like me" and "her vibe changed" after he started raping her.
The 35 year-old has since pleaded guilty to one count of sexual intercourse without consent and one count of indecent assault and will be sentenced in Lismore District Court next week.
He is expected to face a significant jail sentence, but for his victim, the damage has already been done.
In a victim impact statement the woman told the court she was a "trusting and empathetic and optimistic" person before the attack, and considered public places like the beach during daylight hours to be perfectly safe.
Now she lived "in a constant state of fear," and for months after the rape was unable to leave home without an anxiety attack.
"Every night I am kept awake trying to stop the flashbacks replaying in my mind," she told the court.
"I have nightmares, remembering the terrifying and determined look in Michael Jeffrey's eyes as I begged him to stop.
"I often lay awake at night wondering if I would have died, had it not been for the family that heard me screaming desperately for help.
Jeffrey's crime has also had a financial toll on the young woman, forcing extended leave from work due to her fear of "breaking down", and putting on hold her plans to further her career with study.
"Michael Jeffreys stole my dignity," she said.
"On the 3rd of July, I was no longer a person - I became an object, made to feel like a piece of rubbish to be used and discarded in the sand dunes.
"The bruises have gone, but the damage will be there for the rest of my life."
Jeffreys is due to be sentenced in Lismore District Court before Judge Laura Wells on Wednesday, October 4.