Suffolk

Ipswich attempted rape 'predators' have jail sentence cut

George-Hari Constantinescu and Danut Gheorghe Image copyright Suffolk Constabulary
Image caption George-Hari Constantinescu and Danut Gheorghe appealed against their convictions

Two "predators" who attempted to rape a woman in an attack which left her unconscious have had their jail term cut by two years.

The woman, in her 20s, was assaulted at Rope Walk, Ipswich, in February 2017.

George-Hari Constantinescu and Danut Gheorghe appealed after they were sentenced to 12 years in prison following a trial.

Lady Kathryn Justice Thirlwall said the sentences were too long because the men had not actually raped the woman.

She said: "Had this been the full offence of rape, in our judgment the appropriate starting point would have been 12 years.

"In this case we are concerned with an attempt. The harm caused and culpability are recognised by a sentence in each case of 10 years."

Image caption The victim was left unconscious and suffered significant injuries to her face and neck

Constantinescu and Gheorghe, both 31 and of Farnham Road, Blaxhall, had denied attempted rape but were were found guilty at Ipswich Crown Court.

At the time of sentencing, Judge Rupert Overbury described the men as "predators" and said their actions were "callous".

The Court of Appeal heard the victim was grabbed from behind and bundled into a secluded car park, before being assaulted in the early hours of 25 February.

She was left unconscious, half naked and with significant injuries to her face and neck that required hospital treatment.

Image caption The woman was left half naked and unconscious in Rope Walk

CCTV evidence showed the two men had been in various bars and clubs approaching women during the night.

Constantinescu and Gheorghe had appealed against their convictions on the basis that evidence of their behaviour earlier in the night should not have gone before the jury.

The trial judge had also summed the evidence up in a way which was prejudicial to their defence cases, they claimed.

Lady Justice Thirlwall said their complaints about the convictions were "unarguable".

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