Serial rapist targeted most vulnerable

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DNA testing helped to convict a serial rapist who targeted and attacked three vulnerable women in Hastings last summer.

Paul Akrofi, 32, of Bohemia Road, was found guilty of three counts of rape, two counts of sexual assault and one count of assault.

He was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment at Lewes Crown Court this weekwith a minimum sentence of 10 years.

Akrofi was found guilty of assault and sexually assaulting a woman on one occasion between July 1 and 31 last year.

He was also found guilty of raping a woman on a Hastings Beach on September 21, 2013 and two separate rapes and the sexual assault of another woman on September 26 in Hastings.

The jury found him guilty unanimously on all six counts.

Evidence analysed by forensic scientists matched Akrofi’s DNA and Judge Guy Anthony said there was a ‘one in a billion chance’ that it was not that of the defendant.

Akrofi was born in Liberia but moved to Ghana to live with his adopted parents. He arrived in the UK in August 2012 but is now in the country illegally after overstaying. At the end of his sentence he will be deported back to Ghana.

Sentencing Akrofi to life imprisonment, Judge Anthony said: “The jury has convicted you on overwhelming evidence. You are a serial rapist who sexually assaulted three vulnerable women in just a few months.

“In each case a disturbing feature was that you tried to get back in touch with each of them. You have shown no remorse and pose a significant threat to other women.

“The facts speak for themselves.”

Detective constable Nicholas O’Shaughnessy said: “Paul Akrofi targeted these women due to the various elements of vulnerability in their mental health.”

Giving evidence from behind a screen, one victim said she was ‘petrified by fear’.

Detective sergeant Lee Floyd said: “Akrofi systematically targeted his victims, exploiting their mental health vulnerabilities. We worked closely with the Crown Prosecution Service and with specialist victim support services which helped considerably in enabling the victims to be confident and able to give evidence in court. We admire the courage and fortitude of each of the victims, firstly in coming forward and then in giving their evidence in court.

“Once again it shows that such reports are taken very seriously and thoroughly investigated so that we can seek to help achieve justice for the victims.

“We continue to encourage all to come forward and speak to us in confidence.”