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Pair jailed for attempted rape of woman in car park have jail terms cut

PUBLISHED: 17:57 11 December 2018 | UPDATED: 21:08 11 December 2018

George-Hari Constantinescu and Danut Gheorghe. Picture: SUFFOLK POLICE

George-Hari Constantinescu and Danut Gheorghe. Picture: SUFFOLK POLICE

Archant

Two men who stalked and tried to rape a vulnerable young woman in Ipswich as she walked home from a night out have had their sentences cut.

The pair were captured on CCTV on the night of the attack. Picture: Suffolk ConstabularyThe pair were captured on CCTV on the night of the attack. Picture: Suffolk Constabulary

George-Hari Constantinescu and Danut Gheorghe attacked the woman as she walked along Rope Walk in the town on February 25, 2017.

She was grabbed from behind and bundled into a secluded car park, before being subjected to a vile assault.

The woman lost consciousness during the attack and when she awoke found her underwear around her ankles.

The two men, both 31 and of Farnham Road, Blaxhall, were tracked down and jailed for 12 years for attempted rape at Ipswich Crown Court in August last year.

Police at the scene following the attack in Rope Walk in Ipswich. Picture by Ashley PickeringPolice at the scene following the attack in Rope Walk in Ipswich. Picture by Ashley Pickering

At the Court of Appeal today (Tuesday December 11) they tried to clear their names and, although judges rejected their conviction appeals, their sentences were cut at the Court of Appeal.

Lady Justice Thirlwall said the 12-year terms were too long because the men had not actually raped the woman.

“Had this been the full offence of rape, in our judgment the appropriate starting point would have been 12 years,” she said.

“In this case we are concerned with an attempt. The harm caused and culpability are recognised by a sentence in each case of 10 years.”

The court heard the victim had been for a night out with work friends and decided to walk home along Rope Walk by herself.

She was accosted by her attackers in the early hours but could not remember what happened after she was taken into the car park.

The judge said CCTV evidence showed the two men had been in various bars and clubs approaching women during the night.

They appealed against their convictions on the basis that evidence of their behaviour earlier in the night should not have gone before the jury.

The trial judge had also summed the evidence up in a way which was prejudicial to their defence cases, they claimed.

Lady Justice Thirlwall, sitting with Mr Justice Nicol and Judge Anuja Dhir QC, said their complaints about their convictions were “unarguable”.

But she said their 12-year sentences were too tough and cut them to 10 years.

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