A rapist who assaulted his victim in a car behind the Marlowes shopping centre has been jailed for 12 years.
Stefan Padure, 31, of Windmill Road, Hemel Hempstead, committed the attack shortly after midnight on Easter Monday (March 28).
Luton Crown Court heard how the victim, a woman in her 40s, had been to the Greenacres Tavern in Leys Road with her family.
Within the community, it is common for people who had been to the pub to give others a lift to the bottom of the hill.
Padure, who was not known to the victim, pulled up near to her and offered her a lift home.
However he instead drove her to the rear of the Marlowes before raping her.
Following the attack Padure acted as though nothing had happened and began to drive the victim home. She asked if she could borrow his phone to call her son but instead she dialled 999. The call was terminated.
As they approached the woman’s house, her husband was waiting outside and so Padure drove on some distance before letting the woman out. She had to walk home in the rain.
Detective Sergeant David Taylor said: “This was an absolutely horrendous and violent attack during which the victim believed Padure may kill her. Understandably she was terrified and at one point considered opening the door of the car whilst it was moving to escape.
“She has been extremely brave in supporting the investigation and ensuring this very dangerous man is facing a long time in prison and I would like to thank her. She had already been through so much.
“Clearly Padure is an extremely dangerous man and the length of sentence passed to him reflects the severity of what he did. Whilst I fully understand the victim will have to live with his actions for the rest of her life, I hope knowing he is not out in public will be of some comfort to her.”
Susan Krikler, Senior Crown Prosecutor for the Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said: “During police interviews Padure claimed the sexual activity had been consensual and then answered ‘no comment’ to all further questions.
“However, on September 27 at Luton Crown Court, due to the strength of evidence against him, he pleaded guilty to three counts of rape and assault by penetration. He pleaded not guilty to kidnapping and assault occasioning actual bodily harm and, after consultation with the victim, it was agreed that these counts will lie on file.
“This was a planned, targeted and violent stranger rape. Padure is clearly an extremely ruthless, predatory and dangerous man.”