A man convicted of raping a young woman in Bedford in 2014 will serve double his original term in prison, after appealing against his sentence.
Abdul Ghafoor, 33, of Nash Road, Bedford, was last year handed a life sentence with a minimum of nine years to be served, after being found guilty of eight offences including two counts of rape, in connection with the brutal attack.
He was also sentenced to two years for ABH against his victim, to run concurrently, at the hearing in Luton Crown Court in December last year.
Ghafoor launched an appeal against his initial sentence, but last Friday (October 23) the Court of Appeal ruled he should in fact serve up to 18 years behind bars, to be followed an extended period on licence of seven years.
The attack happened on May 30, 2014, when Ghafoor dragged his victim into some bushes and subjected her to a horrific three-hour sexual assault as she walked home from work.
He was caught by police after the woman managed to text ‘Help me’ to her sister, who then called 999.
Inspector Scott Winton of the Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire Major Crime Unit, who carried out the investigation, said: “Ghafoor’s initial sentence took him off the streets for a long time, but this review means he will be behind bars for even longer, and on licence for years more.
“At his earlier sentencing this evil individual was described as a danger to the public, and caused immeasurable damage to his victim – yet he had the audacity to try and appeal his sentence.
“We welcome this harsher sentence which better reflects the severity of his actions, and the suffering inflicted on this innocent woman.”
Ghafoor’s victim has shown incredible bravery in speaking out about the attack, anonymously, in a post on Bedfordshire Police’s blog, Bobbies on the Beat.
You can read her account here: https://bedspolice.wordpress.com/2015/08/07/rape-victim-speaks-out/.
If you have been a victim of rape or sexual assault, you can report the incident to police on 101, or alternatively, contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
All reports of sexual assault, whether recent or historic, are taken seriously and thoroughly investigated.
You can also contact Bedfordshire’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) the Emerald Centre, by visiting www.emeraldcentre.org, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 01234 897052, for help and guidance.