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LOWELL — As David Coutu was led away in handcuffs to begin a 35- to 40-year prison sentence for raping a woman with a crowbar last year, his last words of freedom were profane ones.

“This is bull


-,” the 46-year-old Ayer man muttered as he walked out of Lowell Superior Court last week.

Prosecutor Elizabeth Dunigan described this attack as “every woman’s worst nightmare.”

Dunigan said the 37-year-old Ayer woman, who was not in the courtroom for the sentencing, wrote in her impact statement that while Coutu’s conviction in August for aggravated rape, home invasion, mayhem and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon gave her some closure, she will never be the same.

While Dunigan sought a sentence of life in prison, plus 40 to 50 years in state prison, defense attorney Stanley Norkunas asked Judge Jane Haggerty to look at this case with a “merciful eye.” He said Coutu may be middle-aged, but “emotionally he is 12 years old.”

Norkunas suggested a nine- to 13.5-year prison sentence followed by 20 years of probation, which the judge nixed.

In sentencing Coutu, Haggerty said this was a brutal and unprovoked attack of this woman and the worst she has seen.

“In my nine years on the bench, I have not seen a case of rape as brutal as this,” she said.

The sentencing comes three months after Coutu, aka David Hebert, was convicted of using a crowbar during the early-morning hours of March 9, 2006, to tunnel his way from an empty apartment into the victim’s 41 West Main St. apartment in Ayer. The woman was a random target.

While in the woman’s apartment, Coutu stole $44 then tied her to the bed with her own clothing. He beat her with a yellow, “cat’s paw” crowbar, then used it to rape her.

The victim testified during Coutu’s trial that she didn’t remember being raped with a crowbar, but doctors testified she had massive tearing consistent with that type of instrument.

Before he fled the apartment through the hole in the wall, investigators alleged that Coutu set a cardboard box on fire in the victim’s apartment. The smoke set off the fire alarms and emergency personnel found the woman in her apartment covered in blood.