Chasing Pavements Adele
17 October 2013, 17:18
A 24-year-old man from Slough has started a five years jail sentence after pleading guilty to the rape of a 20-year-old woman in Windsor.
In the early hours of 25 May 2013, Anshul Sharma, of Hencroft Street South, approached the victim, aged 19 at the time of the offence, on William Street having overheard her speaking to a friend about getting a lift.
The victim had earlier been separated from a group of friends she had been with.
Sharma told the victim that he had a taxi and persuaded her that he could take her to the train station.
Sharma and the victim then got into the rear of a vehicle that was driven by Sharma’s friend. During the journey the victim quickly realised that they were going in the wrong direction but Sharma reassured her that everything was ok.
He then tried to kiss the victim which she objected to. The victim tried to get the vehicle to stop but was unable to get out due to the doors being locked.
Sharma then pulled her onto his lap on the back seat and raped her.
The victim struggled violently and caused the vehicle to stop by reaching into the front by the driver. This enabled the doors to be unlocked and the victim was able to get out of the car.
She immediately rang her mother and a friend to report what had happened. Police were called and the victim located a short while later.
Sharma was given a five year jail sentence at Reading Crown Court yesterday (16/10).
Investigating officer, Det Insp Andy Howard said: “This was an horrific attack on a young woman who was enjoying a normal night out with friends. She had been drinking and enjoying herself but unfortunately became separated from her friends which meant she became very vulnerable.
“At the time Sharma approached her she was trying to arrange a lift from a friend but the friend did not know Windsor and was unable to find her.
“It is clear from CCTV footage that Sharma realised the victim was on her own and purposefully pursued her, trying to engage her in conversation. At one point the victim crossed over the road to move away but Sharma followed her where he was then able to persuade her to get in the car which belonged to and was driven by his friend.
“It is also clear that the only reason the victim got into the car was because she believed it was a taxi.
“The offence of rape is always very serious but this incident presented a number of aggravating features: an element of planning, deceit regarding the taxi, the victim being unable to get out of the car and the vulnerability of the victim. The victim was in the car for approximately ten minutes but they must have been the most terrifying ten minutes of her life.
“It is also very concerning that when Sharma was arrested two nights later he was in the same location in Windsor at the same time of night. I firmly believe that he was there with the intention of targeting other vulnerable females.
“I acknowledge that Sharma pleaded guilty to the offence early in proceedings and this was taken into consideration by the judge when passing sentence. This did mean that the victim did not have to give evidence in court.
“However, this does not detract from the seriousness of the offence he has committed and it is right that he will now spend his immediate future in prison.
“Sharma was in the UK on a student visa which has now expired. Therefore, he will be deported at the end of his sentence.
“I would like to take this opportunity to commend the victim and her family for the courage which they have displayed throughout this investigation. In particular the victim’s early reporting to her mother and friend which allowed the investigation team to identify and secure evidence which was crucial in compiling an overwhelming case against Sharma.
“I hope that this sentence provides the victim with a sense of justice and that she can now move on towards a promising future.
“I would also like to commend the vigilance of the CCTV operator who identified Sharma on the morning of 27 May and which led to his arrest.
“I would like to reassure people that this type of incident is rare however it does serve as a reminder to people to always ensure that they use licensed taxis and do not accept lifts from people that tout themselves as such without formal licences or identification.”