Cardiff University student jailed for rape
A Cardiff student, who carried a drunk woman back to his accommodation after a night out in Cardiff City Centre and raped her, has been jailed.
The victim awoke in Preet Vikal’s room the following morning with no memory of how she got there, or what had happened, but due to early collaboration between the CPS and South Wales Police vital evidence was recovered which focussed on what the rapist had done to get her to his room.
Police and prosecutors agreed during an early advice meeting shortly after the incident that although the victim’s recollection was poor, the case could be strengthened by immediately obtaining CCTV of the surrounding streets in the hours leading up to the rape before it could be deleted.
The footage showed that Vikal, then aged 19, had encountered the victim and her friends outside the Cardiff nightclub. The victim became separated from the group and Vikal was later seen carrying her on the route back to his room.
The case is an example of the way prosecutors and police are increasingly working closely together in a new approach to rape cases which forms part of the CPS National Operating Model, due to be rolled out next month.
Catherine Miles of the CPS said: “This strong case was built as a result of police and prosecutors keeping the focus of the investigation on the actions of the suspect from a very early stage to overcome any initial challenges with evidence.
“It was clear from the evidence that Vikal had encountered the victim on his way home when she was with her friends.
“There could be no suggestion that the victim would have been in any position to give her consent to sexual activity. The CCTV footage made it obvious that Vikal ought to have known that and the evidence resulted in his guilty plea.”
Vikal pleaded guilty on the first day of trial and on 15 June was sentenced to six years and nine months in a young offenders institution at Cardiff Crown Court.
Catherine Miles added: “The victim coming forward at an early stage was crucial, allowing the CPS to work with police in following the key lines of enquiry and securing evidence leading to this conviction. We thank her for her cooperation and the courage she has shown.”
Notes to editors
- Preet Vikal (DOB: 19/3/2003) pleaded guilty to one count of rape, contrary to section 1(1) of the Sexual Offences Act, 2003.
- Catherine Miles is a Senior Crown Prosecutor in the CPS Cymru-Wales RASSO unit (Rape and Serious Sexual Offences).
- The Crown Prosecution Service’s new national operating mode (NOM) is being launched across England and Wales on 4 July 2023 in tandem with a police national model.
- The NOM will step up cultural and operational change right across the CPS by setting a minimum baseline for how adult rape cases are prosecuted.
- As a result of joint working between prosecutors and police, the CPS is seeing more case referrals, more suspects charged, and decisions made more quickly. Communication channels and working relationships between the CPS, police and ISVAs are also seeing marked improvements.