Sunday 11 December 2016

Convicted rapist wooed two new victims by posing as a 'sugar daddy' on dating website

Published 04/12/2015 | 17:40

Rafal Bargiel, 40, a convicted Polish rapist who came to Britain under a false identity before subjecting two young women to prolonged and violent sexual attacks to
Rafal Bargiel, 40, a convicted Polish rapist who came to Britain under a false identity before subjecting two young women to prolonged and violent sexual attacks to "teach them a lesson", as he has been jailed for life Credit: Hertfordshire Police/PA Wire

A convicted Polish rapist who came to Britain under a false identity before subjecting two young women to prolonged and violent sexual attacks to "teach them a lesson" has been jailed for life.

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Rafal Bargiel, 40, wooed his victims by posing as a Jaguar-driving "sugar daddy" on a dating website.

One 22-year-old victim was taken to a hotel room where he tied her up, held a knife to her throat and repeatedly raped her.

Another young woman, aged 19, was driven to a remote location and beaten until she complied with his sexual demands.

The women, who cannot be identified, were left with severe psychological trauma likely to stay with them for the rest of their lives, a judge said.

Bargiel, who was obsessed with extreme domination, slipped into Britain under a fake name after serving an "extraordinarily lenient" sentence for a "strikingly similar" offence in his native Poland.

Bargiel, of no fixed abode, was found guilty of six counts of rape of a female over 16, two counts of false imprisonment, two counts of sexual assault and one of causing a female to engage in sexual activity without consent.

He was jailed at St Albans Crown Court for life with a minimum term of eight years and 130 days before he can be considered for parole.

Passing sentence Judge Andrew Bright said the offences were "of the most serious kind".

He said: "Both of your victims were around half your age and you sought them out using a Polish website by portraying yourself as something akin to a sugar daddy, who would pay for their dinner, no doubt the girls must have known, in hope of receiving sexual favours in return.

"But neither of the two girls had the slightest idea what lay in store for them and would never have agreed to meet you if they did.

"You pose a very high risk of serious harm to young women, that is plain. You told both women that you were committing these offences upon them to teach other young women like them a lesson.

"I do not understand what you meant by that, neither did they, but it shows the danger you pose."

Bargiel had denied the offences, claiming the women had consented to take part in extreme sex.

He appeared distracted and looked at he ceiling as the judge summed up the harrowing evidence heard during a trial held in October.

In November 2011 he was tried in Poland under his real name for a brutal rape and jailed for just two and a half years.

"That on any view was an extraordinarily lenient sentence," the judge said.

On his release he adopted the alias Tomasz Puchalski and moved to Britain and with a "great deal of planning" set about grooming his victims on a specialist dating site.

Two young Polish women eventually fell into his trap. A knife, gag, video camera, false identification documents and rope were later found in his car.

He said: "The psychological damage you caused to both girls was plain from the evidence they gave and they will potentially suffer psychological trauma until the day they die."

He added: "Having heard evidence of each of these girls I have no doubt that they were at times in fear for their lives and might be killed.

"You intended that they feared for their lives and their fear heightened the sexual pleasure you experienced."

The court heard he falsely imprisoned the girls and attacked them "over a period of several hours".

In the first incident in November last year Bargiel collected a teenager from a London train station in his Jaguar before driving her to a remote location near Hemel Hempstead.

He then forced her to perform sexual acts, punching her in the face when she refused.

When the victim was dropped off she told her friends and reported the incident to police.

A second young woman was subjected to a horrific prolonged attack at a hotel in Cheshunt, Hertfordshire.

He forced her to undress, held a knife to her throat and raped her. The victim was then held hostage in the hotel room "overnight" and raped repeatedly "in the most humiliating way".

Prosecutor Christopher Ash added: "There was the use of a weapon, a knife, during the incident."

Dr Philip Joseph, the country's leading forensic psychologist, assessed Bargiel in prison and found he "(did) not believe he has a problem and if only he found a like-minded woman who wants to be dominated".

The expert said he continued to pose a "significant risk of committing further offences when he is next at liberty". When he is released he will remain on licence for the rest of his life.

Detective Constable Allan Burnham, from Hertfordshire Police's sexual offences investigation team, said the young women's ordeals were "possibly two of the most horrific cases" he had seen in his career.

He said: "Firstly I would like to thank the two victims in this case, who have shown immense bravery, dignity and courage throughout what has been an extremely harrowing experience. In all of my years in the police service these incidents were possibly two of the most horrific cases I have personally worked on.

"He subjected these women to a terrifying ordeal and tried to degrade them by forcing them to perform sexual acts and he exerted violence on them when they did not comply.

"The sentence passed today shows the severity of his offences. I hope it provides some closure for the women in this case and allows them to continue to rebuild their lives."

Christian Wasunna, defending, said Bargiel was remorseful, adding: "His remorse is genuine."

Bargiel received concurrent life sentences for rape of 18 years, of which he will serve a minimum of half minus the days he has spent on remand, and concurrent sentences of five years for false imprisonment and assault.

The judge said: "I am satisfied that you pose a serious risk of harm by committing further offences and I am satisfied that you pose such a serious threat that a sentence of life is required."

He added: "It is most important for everyone in this court and elsewhere to recognise that the minimum term is not a fixed term after which you will be released, but the minimum time that your case can be considered by the parole board."

Hertfordshire Police confirmed that Bargiel was arrested over the attack on the 19-year-old, but later released on bail without charge. He was still on police bail when he attacked the second woman.

A spokesman said: "I can confirm that Bargiel was on police bail but had not been charged at this stage due to insufficient evidence, with further inquiries being progressed."

They added that, as he had entered Britain under a false name and with counterfeit documents, detectives were unaware of his criminal history as they investigated the first attack.

"Bargiel had a previous conviction in Poland however he supplied false details and documentation and, although the relevant checks were carried out by officers, this is why his previous conviction was not picked up at the time of his arrest," the spokesman said.

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