Man accused of being serial rapist who attacked woman and schoolgirls over 20 year period goes on trial

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Michael Burke from Rochdale arriving Manchester Crown Court for historical rape trial

A man is on trial accused of being a serial rapist after allegedly carrying out a string of sex attacks over 20 years.

Michael Burke, 38, is accused of historic sex attacks on three female victims.

Two of the girls were of school age, reports the Manchester Evening News .

Prosecutors in a Manchester Crown Court trial allege he treated his victims as ‘objects of pleasure’ – leaving them ‘ashamed’, ‘violated’ and ‘demeaned’.

Mr Burke, of College Bank, Rochdale, denies 15 charges of rape, one attempted rape and one indecent assault dating back to the early 1990s.

Michael Burke, from Rochdale, arriving Manchester Crown Court for historical rape trial

In his opening remarks, prosecutor Peter Wright QC told jurors: “He is a man with, no doubt, a number of positive qualities, but he has a flaw, we say.

“It’s a flaw with regard to the opposite sex. It manifests itself in his behaviour towards three different females he sexually abused.

"These females had been objectified, they were objects of pleasure for him. They had been demeaned.”

The alleged first witness in time, now an adult woman, broke down in tears as she was interviewed by a female detective from Rochdale’s child protection unit.

The woman said she was a child when Mr Burke raped her and gave a graphic account of the alleged abuse.

“It’s just horrible reliving it.”, she said. “Saying it now I have got a lump in my throat. It’s awful, when I talk about it it’s like I’m watching it.

"I was living it then, now I’m kind of like watching it in my head. It felt like it just lasted forever. It was horrible.”

Asked how it had affected her by the interviewer, she said: “I can’t trust anyone. I have suffered anxiety the majority of my adult life and it’s been horrendous.

"I didn’t sleep properly for years, every night there would be flashbacks or a nightmare. I’m at the swimming baths and I’m convinced every man is a paedo.

"I have had a complete breakdown. It ruined my school life.

"I will never love properly. I will never let anyone in – it’s horrible.”

Later, in court, cross-examined by Mr Burke’s barrister, Nigel Power QC, she said she had days where she felt ‘being dead is better than being alive’.

The other two complainants have yet to give evidence. In his opening, Mr Wright said the second victim was also a child when she was abused by Burke, ‘who watched a great deal of pornography’.

He is alleged to have punched and slapped the third victim as he raped her.

The allegations were reported to police last year. The trial is expected to last three weeks.