A man who committed the heinous act of raping two vulnerable women in public has been imprisoned for 21 years.
Ion Gheorghe Tanasie, aged 40, from Pound Farm Road in Chichester, was harshly criticised for his “brutal” assaults and was informed he would have to serve at least two-thirds of his sentence.
Tanasie was found guilty of ten offences within the town, following a jury verdict at Portsmouth Crown Court on Friday 24th February.
The first incident unfolded on the evening of 24th July the previous year, when Tanasie assaulted a woman within the grounds of St Paul’s Church.
After the traumatic event, the victim managed to make her way back towards the town centre. Upon encountering some friends, the incident was promptly reported to the police.
Investigation of the woman’s attire led to Tanasie being pinpointed as the suspect. Although there was no evidence of him on the UK DNA database, he was identified through collaboration with Interpol.
As police inquiries advanced, a report of another sexual assault came to light from the evening of 19th September the previous year in The Hornet.
Just as in the first incident, the woman was able to report the assault shortly after it happened.
Upon a comprehensive review of CCTV from the area, Tanasie was again identified as the suspect.
In a matter of days, he was found, arrested, and subsequently charged with rape, sexual assault, and two counts of assault by penetration related to the first incident.
In relation to the second incident, he was charged with rape, attempted rape, assault by penetration, compelling a person to engage in sexual activity without consent, and two counts of sexual assault.
By this point, detectives had drawn a connection between the two cases, leading to Tanasie being remanded in custody to prevent any further offences and to safeguard the public.
Despite denying the charges, the case went to trial, resulting in Tanasie being unanimously found guilty by a jury on all ten charges levelled against him.
Subsequently remanded in custody, Tanasie appeared before Salisbury Crown Court on Wednesday 17 May. He was sentenced to 21 years in prison, to be followed by six years on licence.
Passing sentencing, Her Honour Judge Evans KC said Tanasie’s actions were “brutal, callous and cruel”, and “stimulated by the pain and cruelty of his behaviour”.
She added: “Both women were vulnerable and you took advantage to abuse them, and the effects were devastating, with huge psychological impacts on both women.”
Senior investigating officer, Detective Chief Inspector Alex Campbell, said: “This was a complex investigation where Tanasie deliberately targeted vulnerable women whilst they were out in public.
“The quick work of the investigation team to link these two offences and identify Tanasie using international DNA databases led to a swift arrest and the removal of a dangerous individual from our streets.
“I would like to praise the courage of the victims in this Investigation for coming forward to report these horrendous crimes and their ongoing support through to – and including – the trial.
“The impact this offending has had on the victims is huge and having to relive that experience through the court process has brought that trauma back. I thank them for their bravery and with them we have been able to get the justice they deserve.”
Chief Inspector Nick Bowman, District Commander for Arun and Chichester, added: “This result did not come about by accident; it is through our officers’ tenacity, hard work and support for the victims that provided such strong evidence to the courts for what was an extremely serious and concerning set of behaviours.
“People should feel confident and safe in their community. In the days and weeks following these offences locally we increased and targeted our visible presence in the areas concerned and will continue to flex our resources where we identify a risk.
“I would encourage any victim of any sexual offence to talk to us, we will listen to you and we will help you. Thankfully this type of case is very rare and I am very grateful to the investigation team for their hard work in securing the conviction.”