"she messaged him asking him if they had had sex"
Preet Vikal, aged 20, was sentenced to six years and nine months in a young offenders’ institution for raping a drunk woman.
On June 3, 2022, Vikal met the victim in Cardiff city centre.
Matthew Cobbe, prosecuting, said Vikal and the victim did not know each other and went out with separate groups of friends.
The victim started drinking at home before going to a bar on Mill Lane. She said she could recall “snippets” of her night in Live Lounge.
Mr Cobbe said: “The victim had drunk to excess and by the end of the night was, plainly, hopelessly intoxicated.”
One clubber told Cardiff Crown Court that she sat the victim down and gave her water.
She also used the woman’s phone to text her friends to say that she was in a bad way and should not be left alone.
After leaving the Live Lounge with friends, she came across Vikal, who had also been drinking in the same venue.
Vikal initially walked with the woman’s friends before he and the victim moved far ahead of the group.
The engineering student picked up the woman and carried her at around 4 am to his accommodation.
CCTV footage showed Vikal – originally from Delhi – carrying her across his shoulders and then passing the Blackweir bar where she was leaning on him.
Vikal brought the victim to his room and took a photo of her on his bed. Although she was not naked, the picture was revealing.
She had no recollection of the rape but she remembered walking naked next to Vikal in his bed.
Mr Cobbe said: “She was bleeding….. She found her clothes folded, got out of bed and got dressed.
“The victim asked for the defendant’s Instagram address and once she left, she messaged him asking him if they had had sex and if so, whether they had used protection.
“The answer she had was that yes, they had, but they had not used protection.”
Vikal sent the picture to his friends and told them he had “forgotten” to use a condom. Later that day, the victim contacted police and Vikal was arrested.
In a statement to police, Vikal claimed the victim was a “willing participant”.
Mr Cobbe said it was obvious that the victim was too drunk to consent to sex.
Vikal pleaded not guilty but he admitted to rape on the day of the trial.
Reading a statement, the victim said she was left shaken and unable to sleep after she saw the picture Vikal had taken of her.
She added: “It was really difficult to pretend I was okay when I wasn’t.
“I now have a boyfriend and every little thing had to be discussed… Even little things like putting his hand on my leg.
“Even though I would want him to, I would recoil and wouldn’t be ready to.”
In mitigation, Louise Sweet said her client was “a real shining star”.
She added: “Coming from a village north of Delhi, he is a young man who worked extremely hard, so much so he won a scholarship to support his study in engineering.
“He was the first of his family to go to university, the first of his village to go overseas and study.
“He was fulfilling his dreams to come here, and those of his parents.”
Ms Sweet said Vikal was “not a very experienced young man” and that he “hadn’t had a real girlfriend at all”.
She added that he had gone out drinking after his last exam and the “relief” led him to drink more than usual.
Reading a letter from him, she said:
“I write this letter to express my deepest apology for the pain and suffering I have caused [the victim].
“I understand my actions were wrong and may have a significant impact on her life.
“In the last six months, I have reflected deeply on my actions… Words can’t undo the damage I have done but I hope my apology can be the first step towards healing and forgiveness.”
Ms Sweet added: “This was not a predatory offence at all, but a chance meeting of two young people who were both heavily intoxicated.
“The court has seen the amount of alcohol he drank. He left himself incapable of assessing her abilities [to consent].”
Judge Tracey Lloyd-Clarke acknowledged Vikal’s remorse and that his behaviour was out of character.
But she said alcohol was an aggravating factor.
Vikal was sentenced to six years and nine months in a young offenders’ institution. He will serve two-thirds of the sentence in custody and the remainder on licence.