Rapist given life for sex attacks on barmaid walking home

Abdul Ghafoor, from Bedford, found guilty of rape. PNL-140411-174649001
Abdul Ghafoor, from Bedford, found guilty of rape. PNL-140411-174649001

A rapist who subjected a young pub worker to a 3-hour ordeal in undergrowth and bushes was jailed for life today, Friday, December 19.

Drunken Abdul Ghafoor, 33, at one stage forced the young woman to perform a sex act on him saying: “You white girls are good at it.”

The stranger rape by the married father-of-four was described by the prosecutor at Luton crown court as a nightmare that came true.

The father-of-four grabbed the woman, who is in her 20s, as she was walked home from work through Bedford late at night. He had earlier propositioned two other white women, demanding that they perform a sex act on him.

On May 30 this year the victim finished work and sent a WhatsApp message to her sister to say she was walking home to their flat.

Ghafoor, of Nash Road in Bedford, came up behind the woman in Cardington Road as she headed to the Tesco store. He bundled her into bushes and undergrowth, where she was subjected to a sustained sex attack.

The woman sent a WhatsApp text saying: “Help me” before her phone was smashed by Ghafoor. At one point she managed to make a run for it when Ghafoor vomited as a result of the five rum drinks he had consumed. But he caught her and took her back into the undergrowth where the sexual abuse continued.

Her sister had raised the alarm and the victim heard the police helicopter overhead as a major search was launched to find her.

Eventually he allowed her to get dressed and walked out on to the road with her, saying she should walk into town with him, but they were seen by Police Inspector James Longwith. She got into the officer’s car while Ghafoor tried to escape, but was caught.

Prosecutor Sally Hobson said Ghafoor’s behaviour had a racial aspect, as he had made comments to the effect that it is the sort of behaviour white women would engage in.

“He made racially aggravated comments to the effect that this is the sort of behaviour that white women would engage in.

“She was a white woman and he believed it was ok to behave in this way. It was a stranger rape of a young woman going about her business in her home town, where she ought to feel safe.”

Earlier the prosecutor said: “We all see the news and we know the dangers of walking home. For the woman, a nightmare came true that night.”

Ms Hobson said the victim had been “like a frightened rabbit in the headlights” when she gave evidence in the witness box.” She has been seeing a specialist counsellor and she is on medication and suffers from nightmares.

But she described her as “extremely brave young lady who conducted herself with dignity.” The victim listened to the sentencing from another room in the court building via a link.

Last month a jury found him guilty by majority verdicts of three offences of assault by penetration, two offences of rape, false imprisonment and assaulting the woman occasioning her actual bodily harm. They found him not guilty of a third offence of rape but guilty by a majority of an alternative offence of attempted rape.

Ghafoor told the jury he had drunk around five rum based drinks during the evening. He claimed that she consented to sexual activity.

Asked to explain her Whatsapp message, he said the victim was asking her sister to arrange a birthday party to which he would be invited.

Judge Richard Foster said the victim had been subjected to a “nightmare of unimaginable proportions.”

He told Ghafoor he had been on the lookout for a victim that night and subjected the woman to the most appalling sexual abuse for over three hours. “You forced her to perform oral sex and you said: ‘you white girls are good at it.’ To some extent the offence was racially aggravated.”

He passed a life sentence for public protection, saying he regarded Ghafoor as a dangerous offender. If he had not received life he would have sentenced him to 18 years. That means Ghafoor cannot be considered for parole until he has served 9 years.

The judge praised the victim for her “exceptional bravery”. He recommended three officers - Inspector Longwith, the officer in the case DC Jon Wheeler and Assistant Investigator Derek Winn - for commendations.