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5 June 2015, 17:14
A man who violently attacked and attempted to rape a woman in Bedford town centre has today been handed an eight year jail sentence.
A man who violently attacked and attempted to rape a woman in Bedford town centre has today (Friday) been handed an eight year jail sentence.
Bedfordshire Police has welcomed the sentencing of Maricel Toiu, 39, of Aspley Road, Bedford, following complex and dedicated investigation work led by officers in the force's Criminal Investigation Department.
On Sunday, 14 September 2014, Toiu followed the woman, aged in her late 20s, as she walked home from a night out in the town at around 3.45am.
Toiu punched the victim to the head with such force that she was knocked to the floor. He then pinned her down and attempted to remove her tights and underwear before punching the victim again, and eventually running away.
The distressing incident left the victim shaken and with heavy bruising to her face and cuts to her knees.
Toiu was captured in the area on CCTV footage at the time of the attack. A partial DNA profile recovered from the victim's tights was linked to Toiu and he was later arrested.
Detective Sergeant Linda Hollowell said: "This was a nasty stranger attack where the offender grabbed a lone female victim late at night from behind. He punched her to the ground, lifted her dress and ripped her tights. Thankfully, her screams for help made him flee.
"Officers successfully led a manhunt to locate Toiu and managed this case from start to finish with dedication and a keenness to see this offender punished."
Toiu had also been charged with sexually assaulting a 12 year old girl in Bedford a week after the attempted rape. The judge ruled that the matter lie on his file.
At Luton Crown Court this afternoon, Toiu was sentenced to eight years imprisonment for the attempted rape and 12 months for the assault on the victim, which will run concurrently.
Toiu will also be subjected to an extended licence of four years on top of the eight year jail term.
DS Hollowell added: "Bedfordshire Police is committed to bringing violent and dangerous offenders to justice and helping to keep Bedfordshire safe, so this is yet another positive result for the force."
Notes to editors:
Images of Toiu are attached to this release, including CCTV stills from the night of the attack.