Man jailed for imprisoning and assaulting student - Luton

23/11/2012

A university student from Wales who imprisoned a young woman in his car and assaulted her has been jailed for three-and-a-half years.

Vibinmon Joseph, 25, held the woman from Luton inside a locked car which he parked overnight in a supermarket car park in St Albans, Herts.

The offences happened after Joseph embarked on a campaign of "possessive and obsessive behaviour" towards the woman, who was a student living in Luton.

Joseph was sentenced on Friday, 23 November 2012, at St Albans Crown Court following a trial earlier this year when he was found guilty of false imprisonment, assault occasioning actual bodily harm and common assault.

Joseph, a student at the University of Wales, was cleared of raping the woman in his car as well as four offences of sexually assaulting her. He was cleared of kidnapping her and a second charge of common assault.

Following his conviction in September Joseph, of  Commercial Road, Newport, Gwent, was remanded in custody and brought back to St Albans Crown Court on Friday to receive his sentence.

At the trial, his 26-year-old victim told the jury that he had forced her to go through a bizarre wedding ceremony in his car which was parked in Stockwood Park in Luton, Beds. She said he placed a chain around her neck, telling her it made her his wife. She claimed he had stripped her and bound and gagged her during her ordeal in the car. He even produced a video camera to film her.

Giving evidence, Joseph told the jury she had tied him up and became upset when he wouldn't have sex with her. Joseph claimed they had planned to marry back in their native India next year and he wasn't going to have full sex with her until their wedding.

In the witness box the victim, an Indian student living in Luton, told the jury it was never planned that they would marry and she didn't want a relationship with him.

During the trial, the jury were told that Joseph became obsessed with the victim after meeting her last October when she came to the UK to study. The defendant was already in the UK having arrived from India in early 2011 and was a student at the University of Wales in Newport. Through a foreign student placement agency he had the job of meeting her on arrival at Heathrow Airport and taking her to her student accommodation in Luton, Beds, before returning to Wales.

At first they kept in contact over the phone, by texting, and through internet chat forums and the court was told she was glad of his friendship. However, Sally Mealing McLeod for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said Joseph became obsessed by her and embarked on a "campaign of possessive and obsessive behaviour towards her involving elaborate deceptions," and violence. She added: "He openly regarded her as his wife."

The jury heard how last December the defendant turned up in Luton and immediately spoke about marriage, asking her to contact her parents back in India. The prosecutor said he began touching her inappropriately and became violent if he suspected she was talking to other men.

The court heard he gave her a black eye during a car journey together and, so that her friends wouldn't see the injury, booked them both into a hotel in Guildford Street, Luton. Then, on 27 January this year, he stopped her in Luton and forced her to get into a hire car that he was driving.

The jury heard he drove to Stockwood Park where he produced a gold chain used to symbolise marriage in India and hung it around her neck telling her she was now his wife.

Afterwards he drove the woman to the car park of a Sainsbury's store at the bottom of Holywell Hill in St Albans, where he attacked her.

Please note - all court copies are provided by South Beds News Agency, who retain the copyright for all articles published.