"I am so angry that he has done this to me"
A man from Lowestoft, Ajay Rana, aged 35, has been jailed for seven years at Ipswich Crown Court for raping of a woman in the UK and then fleeing to India.
After a two-week trial, he was found guilty by the jury on Tuesday, June 4, 2019.
Police located a pair of Rana’s earphones which were left behind in the car he used to rape the victim. These were used to match DNA with swabs taken from the victim.
The court heard how Rana had committed the rape of a woman, aged in her 30s, at around 5.00 am on Saturday, December 9, 2017.
As she was walking down Oulton Road in Lowestoft, in the county of Suffolk, Rana drove his silver Ford Fiesta and stopped alongside her.
He offered her a lift, saying to her that it was cold and that he had just given a lift to two other people. So, based on this gesture which looked completely genuine at the time, the woman accepted his offer.
Then between 5.00 am and 5.25 am, Rana took the car onto Kimberley Road and stopped the car. There he raped the woman in his vehicle.
The victim then managed to get out of the car and run away. She frantically went to a friends’ house nearby for help, after which the police were contacted regarding the traumatic incident.
Suffolk Police launched a major investigation into the case and followed a number of lines of enquiry. This included house-to-house enquiries, forensic work and reviewing CCTV of the area.
On the day of the attack, at about 5.30 am, a resident that lived on Kimberley Road reported that he came back home to find a silver Ford Fiesta outside his house which was blocking his driveway.
This matched the car owned by Rana. The resident said that Rana told him that he had dropped someone off and his car would not start. So, to help Rana, the resident pushed his car to help him bump-start it. He then drove away towards Waveney Road.
Police used CCTV footage analysis to identify the driving route of Rana’s car through the town as described by the victim.
They placed him at the relevant locations and times, from the point the victim first got into his car to the time when he sexually assaulted her.
Police then traced the Ford Fiesta and discovered it was registered to one of Rana’s housemates and the car was insured in his name.
When police visited Rana’s home address and spoke to friends of Rana, the officers were told that he had left on Tuesday, December 12, 2017, to go to London.
Rana told his friends that he had to go to India because his mother was ill. They said he looked in a worried state and he contradicted himself. He also changed his story as well.
When officers searched the car, they found the earphones belonging to him, which were then taken away for DNA matching with the victim’s swabs.
On Wednesday, December 13, 2017, Rana was identified as a suspect.
This was Five days after the attack had taken place.
When they identified him through the DNA match, Rana was already on his way to India. He had flown out of Heathrow Airport on that Wednesday morning.
He took a connecting flight and landed in India the following day early in the morning.
So, police had to begin proceedings to extradite Ajay Rana from India.
A European Arrest Warrant was also issued. This would allow for him to be detained if he tried to enter another European Union member state.
After about eleven months, on Monday, October 22, 2018, Rana was detained by Spanish Police in Bilbao under the European Arrest Warrant.
His extradition was approved by the Spanish courts and Rana was then brought back to the UK by officers from Suffolk Constabulary on Monday, November 12, 2018.
On November 13, 2018, Rana was charged with rape and taken into custody.
The victim has suffered tremendously after the incident. In a statement, she said:
“I am so angry that he has done this to me, and [the case] brings it all flooding back and the emotions hit me like a roller coaster… (this) will haunt me for the rest of my life.”
The Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Chief Superintendent Eamonn Bridger, said:
“The police investigation commenced following a calculated and sustained attack committed on an innocent victim, who has been left traumatised by the callous actions of this offender.
“This was a complicated investigation that was progressed with great haste despite the challenges presented by an offender who fled the country after the attack.
“The investigation team worked tirelessly over many months to ensure the individual did not escape justice and I am proud of the work they produced to reach the right outcome for the victim.”
As well as the prison sentence, Rana was ordered to sign the sex offenders’ register indefinitely.