Man convicted of raping two women in Chichester

A man has been found guilty of 10 offences relating to the rape of two women in Chichester.

Ion Gheorghe Tanasie, 40, of Pound Farm Road, Chichester, was convicted after a jury reached its verdict at Portsmouth Crown Court on Friday, 24 February.

Detectives have condemned him for the attacks, which happened in public, and praised the bravery of his victims in coming forward to support a prosecution against him.

The first incident occurred on the evening of 24 July last year when Tanasie raped a woman within the grounds of St Paul’s Church.

Following the ordeal, the victim was able to make her way back towards the town centre, where she bumped into some friends who reported it to police.

From examination of the woman’s clothes, Tanasie was nominated as the suspect. While there was no trace of him on the UK DNA database, he was identified through checks with Interpol.

As enquiries continued, police received a report of another rape on the evening of 19 September last year in The Hornet. Again, the woman was able to report the incident shortly after it occurred.

Following a CCTV trawl of the area, Tanasie was identified as the suspect.

Within days he was located and arrested, and charged with the following offences for the first incident: rape, sexual assault, and two counts of assault by penetration.

He was also charged with the following offences for the second incident: rape, attempted rape, assault by penetration, causing a person to engage in sexual activity without consent, and two counts of sexual assault.

By this time, detectives had linked the two cases, and Tanasie was therefore remanded in custody to prevent further offending and to protect the public from harm.

He denied the offences, and the case went for trial, where he was found guilty by a jury of all 10 charges against him.

He has since been further remanded in custody ahead of sentencing at a date yet to be set and been advised he faces a lengthy prison sentence.

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: “The swift and effective investigation of this appalling case has removed the risk locally from this dangerous individual.”

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