A man raped a vulnerable young woman after searching for her around Rugby town centre following their first encounter.
Andrzej Guzdraj gave his victim an ecstasy tablet as he led her to a ‘sordid shelter’ in a derelict building at the edge of a car park where he then raped her.
Guzdraj (32) of Biart Place, Rugby, pleaded not guilty to raping the teenager and supplying her with ecstasy – but a jury at Warwick Crown Court convicted him of both charges.
Adjourning for enquiries to be made into the on-going effects on his victim, Judge Sally Hancox rejected an application for him to remain on bail, telling him: “It is almost inevitable the sentence I set down will be in double figures.”
Prosecutor Peter Cooper had told the jury the victim, who was 18 at the time of the incident in 2016, suffered from a mental disorder which meant she had an academic age of about 12.
Because of her condition, which was obvious to anyone who met her, she was naive ‘and inclined to answer questions with an instant yes, without really understanding what she’s expected to do.’
“She would do anything an adult tells her. It would have been apparent she presented as significantly younger than her chronological age, and in a doctor’s opinion she did not have the capacity to consent to sexual relations at the time.”
With the aid of comprehensive CCTV coverage of Rugby town centre, he talked the jury through the girl’s encounter with Guzdraj, beginning as they approached the Asda store from opposite directions at around 8.45 in the morning.
“He saw and approached her outside Asda, and there was a brief conversation in which he propositioned her and asked if she wanted sex. She had never seen him before.
“The defendant in his interview would tell the police he accepted he had propositioned her. You may want to ask yourselves why, what impression had he formed of her which led him to proposition her in this way?
“We say it was because he recognised straight away this was someone who was profoundly vulnerable.”
The girl walked away and went into Asda as Guzdraj went back in the direction he had come from, but then turned back and began to talk to her again after she had left the store.
He asked her again if she wanted sex, and she told the court she said no, but he persisted and told her to follow him.
“He told her he had a place to go to with a sofa and a coffee table, but this turned out to be a sordid shelter at the back of an abandoned building.
“It is quite clear he knew she was scared, because on the way he asked her if she was scared of him, and she said yes.”
As they walked, Guzdraj told her to put her hand down his trousers and touch him, and she did as she was told.
But when Guzdraj then went into a shop to buy beer and condoms, leaving her to wait outside, she took the opportunity to make off back into the town centre.
“Sadly it doesn’t end there,” Mr Cooper told the jury.
Guzdraj claimed he decided to go home – but CCTV cameras showed him scouring the town centre, searching for her, for more than half an hour before eventually finding her by a bus stop.
He told her to follow him, and as he led her away from the town centre and across a car park to the scruffy shelter, he gave her a tablet which she said ‘tasted like medicine.’
She said he had taken it from a Tic-tac box, telling her ‘this is my type of Tic-tac,’ and although Guzdraj claimed it had been a Tic-tac, Mr Cooper said it was actually an ecstasy tablet.
In the shelter, which was ‘furnished’ with a broken pallet and a polystyrene block as a table, the effects of the tablet hit her, and he also persisted in getting her to drink some of the beer and to try some cannabis, which made her sick.
He asked her to take all her clothes off. She became agitated and said ‘This isn’t right,’ but eventually she complied.”
He had sex with he and afterwards apologised and made her promise not to tell anyone.
“Why make her promise not to tell anyone if he’d done nothing wrong, why apologise?” asked Mr Cooper rhetorically.
After they left, the girl made her way to a coffee bar in the town centre and asked a member of staff to call a Town Ranger.
“A ranger came, and within minutes of meeting her he formed the impression she was very vulnerable, and that she was under the influence of drugs.
“She said she had had sex with a man in his house, and he asked if it had been against her will, and she said yes. He called for the police and an ambulance,” said Mr Cooper.
Guzdraj claimed in court that he had not realised the girl had any form of learning disability, and said she had gone with him willingly to the shelter where she had been willing to have sex but that he had been unable.
Adjourning the case after the guilty verdicts, Judge Hancox told Guzdraj: “What took place was the most appalling set of circumstances. You targeted someone who, even to the untrained eye, was a young woman with certain cognitive difficulties.
“You took her to a grubby, unpleasant building on the edge of a car park, and you raped her.
“You will receive a sentence you must be in no doubt will run to many years of imprisonment. It is almost inevitable the sentence I set down will be in double figures.”