Man jailed for life for rape - Bedford

19/12/2014

A man appeared at Luton Crown Court today, Friday, 19 December 2014, and was jailed for life and to serve a minimum of nine years after being found guilty of a string of sex offences on a young woman, who he attacked as she made her way home from working in a pub.

Abdul Ghafoor, aged 33, a married father of four from Nash Road, Bedford was sentenced after being found guilty on 04 November 2014, of six sex offences offences including rape, false imprisonment and assault occassioning actual bodily harm (ABH).  He was sentenced to two years imprisonment for the ABH, which will run concurrently.

The attack happened late at night on Friday, 30 May 2014, as the victim, in her 20s, was walking along Cardington Road, Bedford. The victim was messaging her sister when drunken Ghafoor grabbed her, pulled her into some nearby bushes and subjected her to a prolonged series of sexual assaults.

The jury was told during the trial that the victim managed to send a message to her sister saying "Help me" before Ghafoor smashed her phone and continued the three-hour attack.

Ghafoor was caught after the victim's sister called Bedfordshire Police who sent officers and the police helicoper to the area to look for her. On seeing officers, Ghafoor tried to run away, but was quickly caught and arrested.

Adrian Foster, Chief Crown Prosecutor of Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said: "This case involved the rape and sexual assault of a woman in Bedford on Friday, 30 May 2014.

"The victim, a woman in her 20s, was walking home along Cardington Road, Bedford late at night after working in a pub when Abdul Ghafoor grabbed her and pulled her into bushes before forcefully subjecting her to a prolonged series of sexual assaults.

"The victim was terrified and tried to escape, but was caught by Ghafoor and taken back to the undergrowth where he continued his attack. Just before her ordeal she managed to message "Help me" to her sister before Ghafoor smashed her phone.  Ghafoor was arrested after the victim's sister called the police, who sent officers to the area to look for her.

"Ghafoor denied the offences, but on 04 November 2014, he was convicted of eight offences (3x sexual assault, 2x rape, 1x attempted rape, 1x false imprisonment, and 1x ABH) despite his denials.

"This was a planned, targeted and violent stranger rape. Ghafoor is clearly an extremely ruthless, predatory and dangerous man.

"This case highlights the commitment of Bedfordshire police and the CPS to prosecute cases involving violence against women. The CPS will work closely with partners, as we did with Bedfordshire Police in this case, to ensure that robust criminal cases are put before the courts.

"This prosecution would not have been possible without the courage of the victim who was willing to support proceedings. The physical and emotional impact on her of the abhorrent actions of Ghafoor is impossible to quantify. I hope that the conviction and today's sentence will offer her some comfort. Our thoughts are very much with her at this time."

Speaking after today's sentencing, Detective Inspector Scott Winton from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit said: "We are very pleased that Ghafoor will be off the streets for such a long time. At his trial the judge said that he considered Ghafoor a danger to the public and he has handed down a sentence that fits the horrific crimes he committed.

"This was an appalling crime that has devastated his victim's life. I just hope that the knowledge that Ghafoor faces a long time behind bars will go some way in helping her as she tries to return to a normal life with the love and support of her family."

Judge Richard Foster said the victim had been subjected to a "nightmare of unimaginable proportions" and praised her for her "exceptional bravery."