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Dublin: 7 °C Thursday 14 November, 2019
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Two Italian men found guilty of raping woman in Soho nightclub

The victim was taken to hospital where she required surgery following the attack.

Ferdinando Orlando (left) and Lorenzo Costanzo (right)
Ferdinando Orlando (left) and Lorenzo Costanzo (right)
Image: Met Police

TWO ITALIAN MEN have been found guilty of raping a woman in a nightclub in Soho, London. 

Ferdinando Orlando (25) and Lorenzo Costanzo (26), both Italian nationals living in Italy, were found guilty of four counts of rape (two counts per person) earlier today. 

During the trial, the court heard that at 11.27pm on 25 February 2017, the victim, who was 23 years old at the time of the attack, attended a nightclub on Argyll Street in Soho with some friends. 

The jury heard a detailed account of the incident during the trial.

They were told how about half an hour after the victim entered the club, the two suspects – who she did not know – arrived.

There was no interaction between the victim and the suspects until just before 2am, the trial heard.

At about that time, Orlando and Costanzo were seen dancing with her on the dancefloor, and attempting to kiss her.

The court was told that she was visibly drunk, unsteady on her feet and was being passed between each suspect who took it in turns to force a kiss on her.

Prosecutors said that about eight minutes after the initial interaction, the suspects stood either side of the victim and escorted her into a maintenance room, where they “propped her up” and raped her.

Sixteen minutes later, all three left the maintenance room and the suspects rearranged the victims dress and “straddle walked” her into the female toilets.

Orlando and Costanzo then ran up the stairs exiting the nightclub and high-fived each other before showing one another something on a mobile phone, the court heard.

During the trial, both men admitted that in the CCTV footage, they are watching their attack back on the phone before they made lewd gestures and re-enacted to each other about what they had just done during the rape.

After being in the toilets for over an hour, the victim was found by staff and escorted out where she described being in extreme pain – so much so that she struggled to walk properly, the court heard.

A French couple helped the victim home, where upon her arrival, her housemate found her in “such severe pain” that London Ambulance Service and police were called.

The victim was taken to hospital where she required surgery.

Police investigation

It then was established that the woman had been a victim of rape and an investigation was launched under the supervision of Met Police Detective Sergeant Rebecca Woodsford – the senior investigating officer.

CCTV was gathered from the venue and on review clearly showed Orlando and Costanzo holding up the victim and leading her off the dancefloor and towards the maintenance room. It then showed the suspects breaking the lock on the door to the room and taking her inside.

DS Woodsford and her team soon established that one of their suspects, Costanzo, left the country hours after he had carried out the attack and returned to Italy. Orlando left around a week later than his friend.

On 15 March 2018, Costanzo returned to the UK to watch a football match in London. He was arrested at Heathrow Airport and taken into custody. He was interviewed and charged on the following day.

Following Costanzo’s arrest, Orlando contacted the police and flew back by appointment where he was arrested. He was taken to a south London police station and charged on 26 April 2018.

During both of their interviews, neither man gave an account of what happened to the victim, they only gave a short account in the defence statement where they admitted both having consensual sex (oral and vaginal).

“This was a long and thorough investigation, with no forensic leads and hours of CCTV to track through,” Woodsford said.

“I really hope that this sends a message to anyone who has been, or believes they have been the victim of a serious sexual assault that we will do all that we can to investigate each case fully and seek to prosecute those responsible,” she said. 

Costanzo and Orlando thought that they could attack a vulnerable victim, brag about it and then get away with it. They were very wrong and will now pay the price for their actions.

Both men will appear at Isleworth Crown Court for sentencing on a date to be set in due course. 

Comments are closed as legal proceedings are ongoing.

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