Chichester man jailed for brutal rapes of two women near the city centre

A Chichester man who raped two vulnerable women in the city has been jailed for 21 years.
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Forty-year-old Ion Gheorghe Tanasie, of Pound Farm Road, Chichester, has been condemned for the ‘brutal’ attacks, and informed he must serve at least two-thirds of his sentence, police have said.

He was convicted of ten offences in the town after a jury reached its verdict at Portsmouth Crown Court on Friday, February 24.

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The first incident occurred on the evening of 24 July last year, when Tanasie raped a woman within the grounds of St Paul’s Church, according to police.

Ion Gheorghe Tanasie, 40, of Pound Farm Road, ChichesterIon Gheorghe Tanasie, 40, of Pound Farm Road, Chichester
Ion Gheorghe Tanasie, 40, of Pound Farm Road, Chichester

Following the ordeal, the victim was able to make her way back towards the town centre, where she bumped into some friends who reported it to police.

From examination of the woman’s clothes, Tanasie was nominated as the suspect. While there was no trace of him on the UK DNA database, he was identified through checks with Interpol.

As enquiries continued, police received a report of another rape on the evening of September 19 last year in The Hornet.

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Again, the woman was able to report the incident shortly after it occurred.

Following a CCTV trawl of the area, Tanasie was identified as the suspect.

Within days he was located and arrested, and charged with the following offences for the first incident: rape, sexual assault, and two counts of assault by penetration.

He was also charged with the following offences for the second incident: rape, attempted rape, assault by penetration, causing a person to engage in sexual activity without consent, and two counts of sexual assault.

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By this time, detectives had linked the two cases and Tanasie was therefore remanded in custody to prevent further offending and to protect the public from harm.

He denied the offences and the case went for trial, where he was found guilty by jury of all ten charges against him.

He was remanded in custody and appeared before Salisbury Crown Court on Wednesday May 17, where he was sentenced to 21 years’ imprisonment, to be followed by six years on licence.

Passing sentencing, Her Honour Judge Evans KC said Tanasie’s actions were “brutal, callous and cruel”, and “stimulated by the pain and cruelty of his behaviour”.

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She added: “Both women were vulnerable and you took advantage to abuse them, and the effects were devastating, with huge psychological impacts on both women.”

Senior investigating officer, Detective Chief Inspector Alex Campbell, said: “This was a complex investigation where Tanasie deliberately targeted vulnerable women whilst they were out in public.

“The quick work of the investigation team to link these two offences and identify Tanasie using international DNA databases led to a swift arrest and the removal of a dangerous individual from our streets.

“I would like to praise the courage of the victims in this Investigation for coming forward to report these horrendous crimes and their ongoing support through to – and including – the trial.

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“The impact this offending has had on the victims is huge and having to relive that experience through the court process has brought that trauma back. I thank them for their bravery and with them we have been able to get the justice they deserve.”

Chief Inspector Nick Bowman, District Commander for Arun and Chichester, added: “This result did not come about by accident; it is through our officers’ tenacity, hard work and support for the victims that provided such strong evidence to the courts for what was an extremely serious and concerning set of behaviours.

“People should feel confident and safe in their community. In the days and weeks following these offences locally we increased and targeted our visible presence in the areas concerned and will continue to flex our resources where we identify a risk.

“I would encourage any victim of any sexual offence to talk to us, we will listen to you and we will help you. Thankfully this type of case is very rare and I am very grateful to the investigation team for their hard work in securing the conviction.”

You can find more information and advice about sexual offences on our website here.

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