Soho nightclub rapists behind bars

BY YANN TEAR
yann@slpmedia.co.uk

The victim of a Soho nightclub rape by two men says her only comfort is how strong the ordeal has made her.

Her attackers, who high-fived after the sex attack, and filmed the assault, have each been jailed for seven-and-a-half years.

On October 15, Italian nationals Ferdinando Orlando, 25 and Lorenzo Costanzo, 26 were convicted of two counts of rape. They were sentenced at Isleworth Crown Court on Friday.

Detective Sergeant Rebecca Woodsford, the senior investigating officer who took the investigation in 2017 and led it to its conclusion, said: “Today’s result concludes an investigation which has taken more than two years and has been very distressing for the victim.

“Both men put the victim through a traumatic ordeal.

“She has been left with severe psychological injuries, and was injured that night. This caused her and police to suspect she had been a victim of an assault.

“Until the defence put their case to her in court, she was not aware of the full extent of what had happened in the maintenance room.”

In a victim impact statement, the woman said: “I did not consent to having sex with either or both of these people that night or at any other time.

“I try to focus on the one small positive thing that I discovered out of all of this and that is how strong I have become as a person.

“I have had numerous people tell me how strong and brave I am for going through this, but it wasn’t until I reflected and sat down with all my thoughts that I have truly realised that they are right.

“There have been huge challenges over the past two years for me and I constantly relive the small snippets I can remember from that night. It has greatly impacted my life in ways I never thought it would.

“I now only feel flooded with relief that the jury saw through the truth of what I was subjected to that night; and I am overwhelmingly grateful for the support of the Metropolitan Police and the prosecution team throughout this investigation and trial.

“No person should feel like they are not safe when they are just out having fun with friends.

I pray that any other victims of such violent crimes now feel more confident to come forward.

I have continued with this legal process and tried to stay strong because I believe such horrific assaults on women need to stop.

I hope that one day I will no longer feel like a victim and will feel proud of myself for staying so strong.”

On February 25, 2017, the victim attended The Toy Rooms nightclub in Argyll Street with some friends.

They arrived at around 11.30pm. Just over half an hour later Orlando and Costanzo, who were known to each other, entered the club.

The victim and the pair were not known to each other.

There was no interaction between the victim and her attackers until just before 2am, when they started dancing with her on the dance floor and they both proceeded to kiss her. CCTV showed that she was visibly drunk and unsteady on her feet.

The suspects then stood either side of the victim, taking her into a maintenance room, where she was raped.

Sixteen minutes later all three then left the room and the victim was walked to the female toilets.

Orlando and Costanzo then ran up the stairs exiting the nightclub and high-fived each other before showing one another something on a mobile phone.

During the trial, both men admitted that in the CCTV footage they are watching their attack back on the phone, before they make lewd gestures and re-enacted to each other what they had just done.

After being in the toilets for over an hour, the victim was found by staff.

A French couple helped the victim home, where her housemate found her in such severe pain that London Ambulance Service and police were called.

CCTV was gathered from the venue and clearly showed Orlando and Costanzo holding up the victim and leading her off the dance floor and towards the maintenance room. It then shows them removing the lock on the door to the room and taking her inside.

DS Woodsford and her team soon established that Costanzo left the country hours after he had carried out the attack and returned to Italy. Orlando left around a week after his friend.

On March 15 last year, Costanzo returned to the UK to watch a football match in London.

He was arrested at Heathrow Airport and taken into custody. He was interviewed and charged on the following day.

Following Costanzo’s arrest, Orlando contacted the police and flew back by appointment where he was arrested. He was taken to a South London police station and charged on April 26, 2018.

A spokesman for the Toy Rooms nightclub said: “We’re appalled by this incident, and our thoughts go out to the victim.

The safety of our guests is our top priority, and we’ve done everything we can to co-operate fully with the police, to help them bring this case to trial and ensure a
conviction.”

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