‘He kept saying thank you’: Alleged rapist told woman he offered lifts home to meet friends
PUBLISHED: 13:50 20 May 2019 | UPDATED: 19:38 20 May 2019
A mother was raped after accepting a lift home from a friend’s house in the early hours of the morning, prosecutors have claimed.
A mother was raped after accepting a lift home from a friend's house in the early hours of the morning, prosecutors have claimed.
After a European arrest warrant was issued, Ajay Singh Rana was arrested on suspicion of the offence, which took place on Saturday, December 9 2017.
Appearing at Ipswich Crown Court on Monday, Rana, of May Road, Lowestoft, denied one charge of rape.
Opening the case, prosecutor Andrew Thompson said: "One of the reasons why this took place such a long time ago was because this was initially a who-done-it matter, but also because Rana left the country with little notice within a few days of this allegation.
"It was not until he was located working on board a vessel in Europe that he was arrested in Spain after an European arrest warrant had been issued."
Jurors heard how the woman, aged in her 30s, had been at a nightclub in Lowestoft with a friend, before meeting an old friend and going to a house party with his group.
Mr Thompson said: "She met an old friend who she had known on-and-off for 17 years. They hit it off and decided to spend the rest of the evening together.
"They went to his address, but she needed to get home so she left at 5am.
"It was a particularly cold morning and Rana was driving his friend's Ford Fiesta when he stopped and offered her a lift home. They had never met before but he told her he had helped someone else in the same way earlier.
"She stopped the car away from her home because she didn't want him to know where she lived and offered him £5 for the petrol but he declined.
"He asked her for a kiss and forced himself on her, climbing on top of her and winding the seat back.
"She gave him a clear and unambiguous no.
"There was little conversation because his English is limited, and we say this was a stranger rape."
The woman insisted on leaving his home as she had left her phone at the house party and had no way to contact family and friends to let them know she was safe.
During a video interview with police, the woman said: "He pulled up and said it was cold and he couldn't have people walking about in this weather. Stupidly enough I got in the car. He just seemed genuine.
"My touched my leg and said I was freezing so he put the heating on.
"I don't want to remember it.
"He told me he didn't have many friends so this was how he met people.
"I asked him to stop because I didn't want him to know where I lived. I thanked him and gave him £5 for the petrol because I really appreciated it.
"He asked me for a favour and asked if I wanted to have fun.
"I said no and told him my boyfriend was at home. I lied, but he asked me for a kiss.
"He held my face and started kissing me. He wound my seat down and climbed on top. I told him it wasn't what I wanted but he kept saying 'thank you, thank you'.
"I opened the car door and ran away."
In the week following the incident, Rana left his maritime course at East Coast College during a "critical" week of exams to go to London, where he bought a one-way ticket to India.
After tracking the car to his housemate's address police identified Rana as their suspect after matching DNA from earphones left at his house to swabs taken from the woman.
Following the incident, the woman ran to a nearby house. The police were called and were on the scene by 5.25am.
The trial continues.
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