Images above: Alexandru Cimbir, Dmitri Ceban, Andrei Rotaru, Octavian Lupu
Four men have been jailed for more than 71 years after being found guilty of raping a woman in Ealing. The group subjected the victim to a prolonged and repeated attack after meeting her at a nightclub in August 2017. Detective Constable Angie Meadows, who worked on the investigation, said:
“Over the course of my career this is one of the worst assaults I have ever dealt with and they deserve such lengthy prison sentences.”
Octavian Lupu, 31, of Coldharbour Lane, Hayes, was sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment. Andrei Rotaru, 25, of Clun Road, Littlehampton, was sentenced to 17 years’ imprisonment. Alexandru Cimbir, 40, of Rabournmead Drive, Northolt, was sentenced to 18-and-a-half years’ imprisonment. Dmitri Ceban, 28, of Princes Park, Hayes, was sentenced to 16 years’ imprisonment. All four were sentenced at Isleworth Crown Court on Wednesday, 12 May after being found guilty of rape at the same court the day before.
The court heard that the four men were together at a nightclub in Ealing on the evening of 12 August 2017. Lupu was seen on CCTV approaching several women before dancing with the victim and buying her drinks. She had planned to get a taxi home, however her mobile phone wasn’t working and left the club with Lupu who had offered to help organise a taxi home. The victim then remembers being put into the back of a car with four men who drove her to an address in Northolt where she was taken inside and repeatedly raped by all four men. The attack lasted approximately 90 minutes.
Following the assault, the suspects returned the victim’s clothes and arranged for a taxi to take her home. She managed to get to hospital where she contacted police who attended the hospital and began an investigation. Officers were able to use CCTV from inside the nightclub and the venue’s I.D. entry system to identify the four men who were then arrested and interviewed. They all denied the allegations and gave varying accounts of what had happened that evening.
Detective Constable Meadows, added:
“The victim was on a night out with her friends when she was subjected to a horrific ordeal by these men who have expressed no remorse for their actions throughout the course of the investigation.
“I hope that the conclusion of the case gives the victim some closure that she can begin moving forward with her life. She has shown great courage and bravery in standing up to her attackers and supporting the investigation.
“Women’s safety remains a top priority for the Met and we would encourage anyone who has been a victim or witnessed a sexual assault to contact police. You will be supported by our specially trained officers who will give advice and take all allegations seriously.”
Rape prosecutions falling
Although the number of rape cases reported to the police has risen over the past few years, the proportion which end up as prosecutions and actually make it to court has fallen dramatically – more than halved over five years.
In the year to the end of March 2020, 58,856 cases of rape were recorded by police forces in England and Wales. These led to just 2,102 prosecutions, compared with 3,043 in the previous 12 months.
According to a recent report by the BBC, these cases have become more difficult for police, prosecutors and, potentially, victims. Dame Vera Bird QC, Victims Commissioner for England and Wales, said in her annual report that the level of prosecutions has got so low that “what we are witnessing is the de-criminalisation of rape”.
She said that some victims withdrew their complaints because “they cannot face the unwarranted and unacceptable intrusion into their privacy”.
“This is because many will be required to handover their mobile phones, so that the data can be downloaded to see if it has any bearing on a possible criminal prosecution.”
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