Three men convicted of raping a 23-year-old woman at a flat in Lincoln have all been jailed for six years, despite the judge attempting to stop the trial.
Michael Armitage, 44, from Oldham, Pawel Chudzicki, 49, and Rafal Segiet, 40, both from Lincoln, were sentenced at Lincoln Crown Court on Friday, February 13, after the jury found them guilty of rape earlier this week.
Their trial had been initially halted as the judge believed there was not enough evidence for a conviction.
But in a rare move, Judge John Pini QC’s decision to withdraw the case was challenged by the prosecution and the Court of Appeal eventually overturned his ruling.
Lincoln Crown Court heard that on the evening of Saturday, October 27 2012, the woman had been out drinking in a Lincoln bar with friends.
As she was leaving in the early hours of October 28, she was introduced to the three defendants and went back to a nearby flat with them where a party was taking place. It was there that she was raped by all three men.
Judge Pini told the defendants it would have been clear to them that the victim was heavily intoxicated, and therefore unable to consent to any sexual activity.
He said: “All three of you had sex with her when she was so intoxicated she was helpless and therefore vulnerable.”
The victim in the case, who cannot be named for legal reasons, released the following statement: “This has taken a long time – two years and three months from when this happened to the conclusion of the court case.
“I would like to say thank you to the teams who helped me – the police, GPs, health professionals and counsellors, among others. Not one person has made a judgement and they have been incredibly supportive.
“After this happened I went on anti-depressants, I got panic attacks, I didn’t have a relationship for over a year because I had trouble with trust and intimacy. It was all very stressful, as was the court case.
“The sentence for each of these men is a good one, I am pleased with it, and it’s a bit more than I thought they might get.
“I’ll never forget what happened but I will move on. I’m now in a steady and happy relationship and looking to the future. I wouldn’t have got through any of this without the help, love and support of my family and friends.
“I’d like to say to everyone that if you ever find yourself in the position that the men involved in this did that you should really think about what you’re doing and make sure you know the person you’re with is fully aware of what they are doing. Being drunk is not an excuse.
“To any girl who has been in my situation – if something has happened and you think that something isn’t right then talk to people, the authorities or family and friends and hopefully they can help.”
Speaking after the culmination of the case, Lincolnshire Police’s Detective Inspector Simon Lovett said: “We are pleased with the sentence both because it hopefully offers the victim some comfort and closure after more than two years of waiting for the conclusion of this case, but also because it sends a very strong message about offences of this type.
“Capacity and consent have been at the very heart of this case. The victim was in no way able to consent to engaging in any kind of sexual activity with these men, she was vulnerable and incapable of giving any kind of consent.
“We hope this serves as a warning and reminder to everyone that before engaging in any kind of sexual activity you must be absolutely sure that the other person has the capacity to fully consent and does so.
“I would like to pay tribute to the victim in this case. She has shown immense courage; from giving live evidence in court to seeing this case through to the end. We are grateful to her for her help and hope today’s sentences offer some closure so that she can really begin rebuilding her life.
“The Crown Prosecution Service worked very hard and closely with police in what has been a very difficult and complex case for all concerned.
“In addition, I would like to highlight the work that one of our officers, Detective Constable Jackie Crozier, has done. She has worked tirelessly throughout this investigation to see that justice was done.”