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Justice finally catches up with teenage rapist

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A rapist who targeted two women on a Peterborough footpath five years ago has been jailed for more than six years.

Awais Rehman, now 20 and legally allowed to be named for the first time, raped a woman on the morning of 30 September 2017, before then sexually assaulting and robbing another woman at just after 1pm on 6 October.

The crimes took place on Bretton Way cycle path, near to Rhubarb Bridge in Peterborough.

The investigation later featured on the Channel 4 series 24 Hours in Police Custody.

Rehman was ruled not fit to stand trial in November 2018 but was tried in his absence at Cambridge Crown Court where jurors ruled he did commit the rape and sexual assault.

However, Rehman, who was 17 when he was sentenced to an indefinite hospital order in May 2019, was deemed fit to plead late last year.

Awais Rehman, now 20 and legally allowed to be named for the first time, raped a woman on the morning of 30 September 2017, before then sexually assaulting and robbing another woman at just after 1pm on 6 October.

He appeared at Cambridge Crown Court on 22 July, where he pleaded guilty to rape, threatening a person with a blade, robbery and two counts of sexual assault.

Today (Tuesday, 25 October) at the same court he was sentenced to a total of six years and two months in prison, with a further eight years on licence.

He was made the subject of a sexual harm prevention order (SHPO) and a restraining order preventing him from contacting his victims – both to run indefinitely.

Sentencing, Judge Mark Bishop considered the significant degree of planning that Rehman had undertaken to carry out the sexual assaults.

He spoke of the fact that Rehman was loitering in the area and had armed himself with a knife.

The judge also considered the psychological impact on both victims involved in the case.

DC Denise Brown, who investigated, together with Superintendent Adam Gallop and Detective Inspector Gordon Blair, said: “This is a case I will personally never forget and highlights our sheer determination to bring offenders like Rehman to justice.

Awais Rehman, now 20 and legally allowed to be named for the first time, raped a woman on the morning of 30 September 2017, before then sexually assaulting and robbing another woman at just after 1pm on 6 October.

“It took us nine months to track him down; we issued media appeals and an e-fit image, but it was good old fashioned police work that led us to him in the end after we knocked on his door and took his DNA, which linked him forensically to these horrific sex offences.”

On September 30, 2017, the first victim was walking along the path when she saw Rehman run up behind her and pull a large kitchen knife from his trousers.

She screamed but was told to be quiet by Rehman, who then forced her into some nearby bushes and raped her.

The woman, 24 at the time, managed to run away before reporting the incident to police.

DNA found on the victim’s shirt was later recovered and analysed, with forensic experts stating there was a “one in a billion” chance it did not belong to Rehman.

At about 1pm on October 6, another woman was walking along the same footpath when Rehman approached her from behind and slapped her bottom.

He then grabbed her by the arms and told her, “I’m going to take your bag,” before snatching her handbag and running off.

The handbag was recovered from some nearby bushes by officers and the victim’s purse, containing her bank cards and £20, were missing. The incident lasted about 10 minutes.

In police interview Rehman, previously of Watergall, Bretton, Peterborough, claimed the sex with his first victim was consensual.

He answered no comment to all other questions.

DC Brown said what happened to both victims has been devastating and, despite showing incredible courage and strength throughout, they are still affected to this day.

She added: “The sexual assault victim feels what happened has completely changed her life; she never goes out alone, has regular panic attacks and feels like her ordeal has never ended.

“The rape victim continues to live in fear and has considered taking her own life due to the psychological impact of what happened.

Awais Rehman, now 20 and legally allowed to be named for the first time, raped a woman on the morning of 30 September 2017, before then sexually assaulting and robbing another woman at just after 1pm on 6 October.

“Many will remember she took part in 24 Hours in Police Custody and gave a first-hand account of the impact it had on her. I hope her story inspires others to contact us if they are victims of similar offences.

“When I called her to say we had charged someone for her case, she said it was one of the happiest days of her life; for me that really captures why we became officers – to make a positive difference when the public have been through truly horrendous experiences.

“The sentencing reflects the seriousness of the offence, but what the victims went through will live with them much longer than a six-year prison sentence and today it is them that my thoughts are with.

“We take all offences of rape and sexual assault extremely seriously and as highlighted in this case, will do all we can to bring offenders to justice.”

In a statement read out in court today, the rape victim said: “Although five years have passed since this incident, I still remember it as if it happened a week ago.

“I lived through this incident, yes. I survived it, I carried on with my life and I live well, but at the same time, I have mixed emotions.

“Nothing can be scarier than that incident, than being raped at knife point.

“I still often have thoughts that something bad might happen to me. I hate living with that feeling.

“I still feel sorry for myself and there is something inside me that still causes great pain because of what he did; I think I would have preferred not to live.

“As an immigrant, I did not think the police would take me very seriously and I considered not going ahead with my complaint; I could not have been more wrong.

“Every time I was in the presence of the police officers, they made me feel so comfortable and made me feel important and worthy of their investment and time.

“I would appeal to any women who are victims of rape, especially immigrants, to put trust in the police as they really do care.”

The sexual assault victim also wished for her victim personal statement to be read out in court, in which she called for her attacker to be jailed.

In it she said: “I was sexually assaulted and robbed in broad daylight [and this] extremely changed how I live my life.

“This has not changed even although we are five years on. I am still deeply affected by this incident and remain hyper alert when I am out and about – I never go anywhere alone.

“I still feel unsafe and take every precaution possible to ensure that something like this does not happen to me again.

“I do not like living my life like this as my body feels anxious and nervous whenever I step outside of my front door.

“Who wants to feel like this every day?

“Since this incident happened, I have started to have panic attacks regularly.

“They affect me so extremely; my hands go numb; I feel like I am going to faint, and I cannot breathe properly – my body is shutting down.

“I get these attacks when I am I am home and when I suddenly realise, I am on my own.

“I feel that he (my attacker) should punished and imprisoned for what he has done to me, but most of all I want to be able to live my life peacefully.”

More information on rape and sexual offences can be found on the force’s dedicated web page.

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