Woman being raped and strangled by man she met in Rugby was saved by passing van driver
After parting company with a Rugby woman he had shared a taxi with from a town night club, a man attacked her from behind, forced her to the ground and raped her.
Fortunately, her ordeal came to a swift end when a passing van driver saw what was happening and went to her aid – at which rapist Kai Sowe ran off.
Despite DNA evidence, Sowe (28) of Stainsbury Avenue, Hockley, Birmingham, denied any sexual activity had taken place.
But a jury at Warwick Crown Court found him guilty by a unanimous verdict, and Sowe was remanded in custody for a pre-sentence report to be prepared on him.
Prosecutor Michael Williams said that in October 2016 Sowe travelled to Rugby to visit the mother of his child, and that evening went to a nightclub in the town centre.
His victim was in the same club and dancing with a number of people.
Later they were both at the taxi rank where, after they had discussed where they were going, Sowe suggested they share a taxi, and the woman agreed.
After they got out of the taxi at a spot when Sowe had told the driver to stop, they woman set off to walk the rest of the way back to her home.
In a video-recorded interview played to the jury, the woman said: “I walked up this street on myself. I heard him walking up behind me, and he approached me and hit me.
“He pushed me and I fell on the ground. I fell on my back, and I felt I was passing out. I told him not to kill me, I would do whatever you want, but don’t kill me.
"He pulled my trousers down and tried to strangle me.
“At the point when he was just starting to assault me sexually, a white vehicle approached. It was just passing, but then it pulled up, and the young man saw it and ran away.
“Then I realised I was lying on the ground naked. I pulled my trousers up and saw there were many police officers around me. I was put in an ambulance and told them what had happened.”
Mr Williams said the person who had come to her aid was van driver Patrick Mitchell who had become concerned at seeing the woman being followed, so had turned round and driven past again. When he did so, his suspicions proved correct and he saw the rape taking place, so pulled up, at which Sowe made off.
After the woman was taken to the hospital internal swabs were taken which revealed Sowe’s DNA. But despite that damning evidence, Sowe claimed in court that after they had got out of the taxi, the woman had pushed him, and they had fallen over, and he denied having sex with her and said he did not know how his DNA was found internally.
After the jury returned its verdict, Sowe’s barrister Elroy Claxton asked for an adjournment for a pre-sentence report, observing that Sowe had convictions for possessing an offensive weapon and possessing a bladed article, but no sex offences.
Agreeing a report was needed, Judge Peter Cooke said: “I would like all matters, including the question of dangerousness, to be addressed.
"This is the violent rape of a woman in the street, and he has twice before been convicted of carrying weapons.”
Rejecting an application for Sowe to remain on bail, he said: “I think in the circumstances of him having been convicted of so grave an offence, the appropriate thing is for him to be remanded in custody.”
Asking for Mr Mitchell to be awarded £1,000 from the High Sheriff’s award fund, in recognition of his ‘exemplary conduct,’ Judge Cooke added: “What he did, and the way he conducted himself in the early hours of the 25th of October was very public-spirited.
“This was a man going about his business, and he became very concerned about what he saw in the very early stages, and was sufficiently troubled and sufficiently public-spirited not to just leave this woman to her fate, but to turn round and check.
“He stopped what was in progress. He stopped not only the rape but her having a hand round her throat stopping her breathing, and then gave pursuit as best he could and called the police.”