Saturday 18 January 2020

Serial rapist may have had more victims, police warn

Terri Judd in London

MORE women and girls may have been victims of the "M25 rapist", British police warned as Antoni Imiela was yesterday convicted of an attack 25 years ago.

Detectives urged victims to come forward after Imiela was found guilty of raping a woman in 1987, more than a decade before the attacks on victims as young as 10 that made him infamous.

Following his conviction at the Old Bailey, police said they feared that many others may have suffered at his hands during the 14-year gap between the rape of Sheila Jankowitz in the early hours of Christmas Day 1987, and the so-called "M25 rapes" in 2001-2 for which he was convicted in 2004. Speaking outside court, Detective Inspector John Foulkes said: "Imiela was convicted in 2004 for a series of stranger rapes. It's likely the police are unaware of all his offending. I appeal to the public, and in particular anyone who is a potential victim of his in the late 1980s or between 1996 and 2002, to come forward."

Mrs Jankowitz, a mother-of-two, never lived to see her rapist brought to justice as she was murdered in 2006 in an unrelated case, but her daughter, former husband and mother- in-law sat through the trial.

At its conclusion, Imiela (57) was sentenced to 12 years for rape, indecent assault and buggery.

The jury concluded that he was guilty of grabbing Mrs Jankowitz off the street near her south-east London flat, threatening to kill her if she called out, and punching her repeatedly when she resisted.

Detective Inspector Foulkes said: "The victim is no longer with us but I hope that today's verdict brings some comfort and closure for the family."

Fourteen years after the rape of Mrs Jankowitz, Imiela carried out a string of attacks across the south of England on girls aged 10, 13 and 14, and women up to the age of 52.

He dragged them into secluded areas, beat them and threatened to kill them.

He was given seven life sentences in 2004, but would have been eligible for parole earlier this month had a cold case review team not linked him via DNA evidence to the attack on Mrs Jankowitz. (© Independent News Service)

Irish Independent

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