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19 December 2014, 16:24
A Bedford man has been jailed for life - with a minimum of 9 years - for raping a young woman as she made her way home following a night working in a pub.
In addition, the 33 year-old was sentenced to 2 years for ABH to run concurrently.
Abdul Ghafoor, a married father of four from Nash Road, was found guilty of eight offences including rape.
The attack happened late on Friday, May 30, as the victim was walking along Cardington Road, Bedford. The victim was texting her sister when 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 text her sister with the message "help me" before Ghafoor smashed her phone and continued the attack.
Ghafoor was caught after the victim's sister had called Bedfordshire Police who sent officers out on an area search. On seeing officers, Ghafoor tried to run away but was quickly caught and remanded.
Speaking after today's sentencing, Detective Inspector Scott Winton from the 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 considers 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."
Adrian Foster, the Chief Crown Prosecutor at the 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 text "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 seven offences (3x sexual assault, 2x rape, 1 x false imprisonment, and 1x assault occasioning actual bodily harm) 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 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."