A man has been jailed for seven years and one month for raping a woman in Bridgwater in the early hours of Saturday 28 January.
Alin-Vasile Iercosan, 27, of Bath Road, Bridgwater, followed the 25-year-old woman as she walked home before dragging her off the street to carry out the attack in a parking area off Friarn Street.
He was jailed at Taunton Crown Court today, Friday 21 April, and faces an extended licence as well as a lifetime Sexual Harm Prevention Order.
In an powerful personal statement to the court the woman said:
“I am here today to try and regain some control after you stole it all from me. I’m begging that today will bring me a tiny amount of closure.
“You will only get so many years in prison but … no amount of time you get today will ever justify what you did to me.”
DI Hadley Rides of Operation Soteria Bluestone, the specialist team tackling rape and serious sexual assault, oversaw the investigation.
He said: “The CCTV we obtained during our investigation chillingly shows the predatory behaviour of Iercosan. He waited on the streets of Bridgwater and deliberately followed and attacked a lone woman.”
DI Rides added: “Iercosan admitted his crime at an early stage in the court proceedings due to the overwhelming evidence against him. I’d like to acknowledge the joint effort of detectives in my team, working with the neighbourhood policing team, which led to an early identification of the defendant.
“However this man would not now be off our streets had it not been for the strength and determination of this young woman and her continued support of our investigation.
“She stood up in court today and faced the man who attacked her. She has shown herself to be much stronger than Iercosan, who fled the country after the attack to try to evade justice.”
Incidents of rape by a stranger, like this case, remain extremely rare. Sadly, the vast majority of rape and serious sexual assault offences are committed by someone known to the victim.
An Independent Sexual Violence Advisor has supported the woman throughout the investigation and court process. She continues to have access to support services such as counselling to help her recovery.
Victims of rape or sexual assault, recent or non-recent, can self-refer to The Bridge, a Sexual Assault Referral Centre available 24/7 365 days a year. Visit their website or call 0117 342 6999.
There are also details of charities and organisations with expertise in supporting victims at www.thisisnotanexcuse.org.
If you feel unsafe in a public place you can report it via the StreetSafe tool. The tool helps to inform our approach to protecting women and girls and allows police and partners to target particular areas of concern.