A victim of alleged serial rapist Antoni Imiela heard her husband walk past twice as she was attacked but could not call for help, a court heard on Tuesday.
Sheila Jankowitz told her husband Erwin that she heard him go by but her attacker had his hand over her mouth and threatened to kill her if she screamed, jurors at the Old Bailey were told.
Giving evidence today, Mr Jankowitz said his wife returned to their south east London flat in the early hours of Christmas Day 1987 saying she had been raped.
He said her hair was messed up and she was in "a bit of a state".
He told the jury: "It's the worst thing you'd want to be told, to hear your wife's been raped.
"It's horrific. I suppose you feel so helpless."
She took him to the site of the attack - behind a shed near their Forest Hill flat - and told her husband what had happened, the court heard.
Mr Jankowitz said: "He had his hand over her mouth and said if she screamed he was going to smash her head in.
"That really upset me, because the shed was so close, two metres away. I could have stopped it happening but as he had his hand over her mouth restraining it, she couldn't call out."
Antoni Imiela, 57, is accused of the rape, indecent assault and buggery of Mrs Jankowitz.
His DNA was linked to the attack more than two decades later by detectives from a cold case squad.
Imiela claims he had consensual sex with her.
The jury has already been told that in 2004 he was convicted of seven rapes of women he did not know.
Two years after the alleged attack, Mrs Jankowitz sought treatment for mental health problems.
After being discharged from hospital she returned to South Africa and her marriage ended.