Lowestoft – Man jailed for rape | Suffolk Constabulary

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Lowestoft – Man jailed for rape

Ajay Rana

A 35-year-old man has been jailed for a rape which occurred in Lowestoft almost 18 months ago.

Ajay Rana, formerly of May Road, Lowestoft, was sentenced to seven years imprisonment at Ipswich Crown Court today, Tuesday 4 June, and also ordered to sign the sex offenders’ register indefinitely. He was found guilty by a majority verdict yesterday following a two-week trial.

At around 5am on Saturday 9 December 2017, the victim – a woman aged in her 30s – was walking along Oulton Road when a silver Ford Fiesta stopped alongside her. Rana was driving this vehicle and offered the woman a lift, saying it was cold and he had just given a lift to two other people, and so she accepted his offer as he appeared to be genuine.

At some time between 5am and 5.25am Rana stopped the car in Kimberley Road, where he raped the victim in the vehicle. She then managed to get out of the car and ran away to a friend’s house nearby to get help, following which the police were called.

A major investigation was immediately launched and officers pursued a number of lines of enquiry, including forensic work, along with CCTV and house-to-house enquiries.

At around 5.30am on the day the attack occurred, a resident of Kimberley Road reported that he returned home to find a silver Ford Fiesta outside his house blocking his driveway. This transpired to have been Rana’s car and he told the resident that he had just dropped someone off but the car now wouldn’t start, so the man then pushed the car for him to bump-start it, and Rana drove off towards Waveney Road.

The Ford Fiesta was traced and found to be registered to one of Rana’s housemates and he was a named driver on the insurance. On attending Rana’s home address and speaking with friends of Rana, officers were told that he had left for London on Tuesday 12 December, saying that he had to go to India as his mother was ill. He was described as being in a worried state and that he contradicted himself and changed his story. 

Officers located some of Rana’s earphones that he had left behind and were then able to match DNA from them with swabs taken from the victim.

The thorough CCTV analysis was able to locate Rana’s car driving the route through the town as described by the victim and place him in the relevant locations, at times corresponding to when the victim first got into his car and when the attack occurred. 

Rana was identified as a suspect on Wednesday 13 December, just five days after the attack occurred. However, he was already on an aeroplane out of the United Kingdom, flying from Heathrow Airport that morning and after taking a connecting flight, he arrived in India during the early hours of the following day.  

Officers from Suffolk Police then began proceedings to extradite Rana from India and also issued a European Arrest Warrant, which would allow for him to be detained if he attempted to enter another European Union member state.

He was detained under the European Arrest Warrant by Spanish Police in Bilbao on Monday 22 October 2018. His extradition was approved by the Spanish courts and he was returned to the United Kingdom by officers from Suffolk Constabulary on Monday 12 November and was charged with rape the following day.

Detective Chief Superintendent Eamonn Bridger, the Senior Investigating Officer, said: “The police investigation commenced following a calculated and sustained attack committed on an innocent victim, who has been left traumatised by the callous actions of this offender.

“The criminal justice process is never easy for victims of crime, but the victim in this case has shown bravery throughout and continues to be supported by officers and support agencies. I hope that today will bring some kind of closure and allow her to move forward positively in her life.

“This was a complicated investigation that was progressed with great haste despite the challenges presented by an offender who fled the country after the attack. The investigation team worked tirelessly over many months to ensure the individual did not escape justice and I am proud of the work they produced to reach the right outcome for the victim.

“Whilst attacks of this nature are rare and Suffolk remains a safe county to live in, this is a further example where the Constabulary has risen to the challenges of modern policing to continue to deliver a highly tenacious and professional service for the public it serves.”

Previous release | 3 June 2019

A 35-year-old man has been convicted of rape in connection with an incident in Lowestoft which occurred almost 18 months ago.

Ajay Rana, formerly of May Road, Lowestoft, was found guilty at Ipswich Crown Court today, Monday 3 June, following a two-week trial.

At around 5am on Saturday 9 December 2017, the victim – a woman aged in her 30s – was walking along Oulton Road when a silver Ford Fiesta stopped alongside her. Rana was driving this vehicle and offered the woman a lift, saying it was cold and he had just given a lift to two other people, and so she accepted his offer as he appeared to be genuine.

At some time between 5am and 5.25am Rana stopped the car in Kimberley Road, where he raped the victim in the vehicle. She then managed to get out of the car and ran away to a friend’s house nearby to get help, following which the police were called.

A major investigation was immediately launched and after pursuing a number of lines of enquiry, including forensic work, along with CCTV and house-to-house enquiries, officers identified Rana as a suspect within five days of when the attack occurred.

The Ford Fiesta was traced and found to be registered to one of Rana’s housemates and he was a named driver on the insurance. On attending Rana’s home address officers located some earphones of his and were then able to match DNA from them with swabs taken from the victim.

However, Rana was already on an aeroplane out of the United Kingdom when he was designated as a suspect, flying from Heathrow Airport on the morning of Wednesday 13 December and after taking a connecting flight, arrived in India during the early hours of the following day.   

Officers from Suffolk Police then began proceedings to extradite Rana from India and also issued a European Arrest Warrant, which would allow for him to be detained if he attempted to enter another European Union member state.

He was detained under the European Arrest Warrant by Spanish Police in Bilbao on Monday 22 October 2018. His extradition was approved by the Spanish courts and he was returned to the United Kingdom by officers from Suffolk Constabulary on Monday 12 November and was charged with rape the following day.

Rana has been remanded in custody and is due to be sentenced at Ipswich Crown Court tomorrow, Tuesday 4 June.

Previous release | 14 November 2018

A 34-year-old man, who was wanted by Suffolk Constabulary in connection with a rape in Lowestoft last year, has been charged by detectives investigating the crime after being arrested in Spain and returned to the United Kingdom.

The incident occurred in the early hours of Saturday 9 December in Kimberley Road.

The victim – a woman aged in her 30s – was walking along Oulton Road at around 4am when a man stopped and offered her a lift, which she accepted as he appeared to be genuine and said he had just given a lift to two other people.

At some time between 4.15am and 5.15am the suspect stopped the car in Kimberley Road, where he raped the victim in the vehicle. She then managed to get out of the car and ran away to get help, following which the police were called.

A major investigation was immediately launched and after pursuing a number of lines of enquiry, officers identified a suspect within two weeks of when the attack occurred. However, he left the United Kingdom prior to coming to the attention of police.

Ajay Rana, of no fixed address, was detained in connection with this crime by Spanish Police in Bilbao on Monday 22 October, under a European Arrest Warrant.

His extradition was approved by the Spanish courts and he was returned to the United Kingdom by officers from Suffolk Constabulary on Monday 12 November.

Rana was taken into police custody and subsequently charged with rape. He appeared before Norwich Magistrates’ Court yesterday, Tuesday 13 November, where he was remanded in custody and committed to Ipswich Crown Court for a next hearing on Tuesday 11 December.

Previous release I 22 December 2017

Detectives investigating an allegation of rape in Lowestoft earlier this month have identified a suspect in connection with the attack.

The incident occurred in the early hours of Saturday 9 December in Kimberley Road.

The victim – a woman aged in her 30s – was walking along Oulton Road at around 4am when a man driving what she describes as a small light or silver coloured car, stopped and offered her a lift, which she accepted as he appeared to be genuine and said he had just given a lift to two other people.

At some time between 4.15am and 5.15am the suspect stopped the car in Kimberley Road, where he raped the victim in the vehicle. She then managed to get out of the car and ran away to get help, following which the police were called.

Officers have been following a number of lines of enquiry in connection with this attack, including forensic work, along with CCTV and house-to-house enquiries.

As a result of these enquiries a suspect has been identified, however he left the United Kingdom three days after the attack occurred, prior to coming to the attention of police. He is now wanted by Suffolk Constabulary in connection with this incident and we will be continuing our efforts to bring the individual to justice despite his current location.

Detective Superintendent Eamonn Bridger, the Senior Investigating Officer, said: “We have made excellent progress in this inquiry and are grateful to all the members of the public who have provided us with information for their assistance.

“We have now identified a suspect for this attack and are not currently looking for anyone else in connection with the attack. Unfortunately this individual left the country before he became a person of interest to us, but we are now working to bring him back to the United Kingdom as we are determined to achieve justice for the victim.”

Anyone with information about this attack is asked to contact Suffolk Police on 101 quoting reference 78398/17, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Previous release I 16 December 2017

Officers investigating an allegation of rape in Lowestoft last weekend have carried-out checks in the town one week on from when the attack took place.

The incident occurred in the early hours of Saturday 9 December in Kimberley Road.

The victim – a woman aged in her 30s – was walking along Oulton Road at around 4am when a man driving what she describes as a small light or silver coloured car, stopped and offered her a lift, which she accepted as he appeared to be genuine and said he had just given a lift to two other people.

At some time between 4.15am and 5.15am the suspect stopped the car in Kimberley Road, where he raped the victim in the vehicle. She then managed to get out of the car and ran away to get help, following which the police were called.

The victim is being supported by specialist trained officers as efforts to identify the offender continue. This includes forensic work, along with CCTV and house-to-house enquiries. An E-fit likeness of a man detectives want to speak to in connection with the attack has also been issued.

The suspect is described as being Asian, aged between 30 and 40, short and of slight build. During the car journey he stated to the victim that he often offered people lifts to ‘make friends’.

Officers have been contacted by other witnesses stating they were given a lift in similar circumstances by a man in Lowestoft shortly before the attack happened. The description they have provided of this man and the car are similar to that provided by the victim, with the added information that the car may have had a wheel trim missing.

Between 1am and 6am this morning, Saturday 16 December, teams of officers were out conducting checks in Kimberley Road and Oulton Road, where they spoke to a total of 15 people who were on foot across both locations, and they also made a further five vehicle stops, whilst distributing leaflets with information about the attack.

Detective Superintendent Eamonn Bridger, the Senior Investigating Officer, said: "We continue to pursue a number of lines of enquiry as part of this investigation and I am grateful to those people who spoke to officers in the early hours of this morning – along with local residents – for their assistance.

"In addition to the work carried-out earlier this morning, throughout the past week we have had teams of officers conducting house-to-house enquiries and colleagues from the Roads Policing Unit making vehicle checks.

"I would appeal again for anyone with information about this horrendous attack to contact us immediately, especially if you believe you recognise the man pictured in the E-fit previously issued, or if you have seen a car matching the description given, particularly - but not exclusively - those with a wheel trim missing.”

Officers are appealing for anyone who may have been in the vicinity of Kimberley Road, or any of the other roads along the route taken by the suspect’s vehicle (detailed below), between 4am and 5.15am on Saturday 9 December to make contact. This includes anyone who witnessed anything suspicious and anyone who may have dashcam, headcam or CCTV footage.

The route the car travelled along is believed to have included the following roads:

Oulton Road, Church Road, Boston Road, St Peters Street (A1144), Bascule Bridge, Belvedere Road, Horn Hill, Waveney Drive, Durban Road, and Kimberley Road.

Anyone with information about this attack, who believes they recognise the person pictured in the E-fit, or who was in any of the roads stated above during the relevant times and witnessed anything suspicious, is asked to contact Suffolk Police on 101 quoting reference 78398/17, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Previous release I 13 December 2017

Detectives investigating an allegation of rape in Lowestoft at the weekend are renewing appeals for witnesses and issuing an E-fit likeness of a man they want to speak to in connection with the incident.

The attack occurred in the early hours of Saturday 9 December in Kimberley Road.

The victim – a woman aged in her 30s – was walking along Oulton Road at around 4am when a man driving what she describes as a small light or silver coloured car, stopped and offered her a lift, which she accepted as he appeared to be genuine and said he had just given a lift to two other people.

At some time between 4.15am and 5.15am the suspect stopped the car in Kimberley Road, where he raped the victim in the vehicle. She then managed to get out of the car and ran away to get help, following which the police were called.

The victim is being supported by specialist trained officers as efforts to identify the offender continue. This includes forensic work, along with CCTV and house-to-house enquiries. 

The suspect is described as being Asian, aged between 30 and 40, short and of slight build. During the car journey he stated to the victim that he often offered people lifts to ‘make friends’.

Officers have now been contacted by other witnesses stating they were given a lift in similar circumstances by a man in Lowestoft shortly before the attack happened. The description they have provided of this man and the car are similar to that provided by the victim, with the added information that the car may have had a wheel trim missing.

Detective Superintendent Eamonn Bridger, who is leading the investigation, said: “I am appealing for anyone with information about this horrendous attack to contact us immediately, especially if you believe you recognise the man pictured in the E-fit or have seen a car matching the description given, particularly - but not exclusively - those with a wheel trim missing.

“The victim is being incredibly brave in working with our officers and we are determined to find the person responsible and bring him to justice.

“The suspect presented himself as a Good Samaritan offering the victim a lift on a cold night. We strongly believe that he has previously given lifts to other people and may continue to do so.

“I want to take this opportunity to urge the community of Lowestoft - and people of Suffolk as a whole - to never accept lifts from strangers. Always plan your journey home by walking in groups, making arrangements to get a lift with a friend, or using a taxi.”

Detectives are still trying to trace the driver of a blue or green coloured Ford Fiesta which had broken down in Kimberley Road at around 5.30am on Saturday morning to come forward. He was given assistance by a local resident to get the car started and may have vital information to assist the investigation.

Officers are appealing for anyone who may have been in the vicinity of Kimberley Road, or any of the other roads along the route taken by the suspect’s vehicle (detailed below), between 4am and 5.15am to make contact. This includes anyone who witnessed anything suspicious and anyone who may have dashcam, headcam or CCTV footage.

The route the car travelled along is believed to have included the following roads:

Oulton Road, Church Road, Boston Road, St Peters Street (A1144), Bascule Bridge, Belvedere Road, Horn Hill, Waveney Drive, Durban Road, and Kimberley Road.

Anyone with information about this attack, who believes they recognise the person pictured in the E-fit, or who was in any of the roads stated above during the relevant times and witnessed anything suspicious, is asked to contact Suffolk Police on 101 quoting reference 78398/17, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Previous release | 10 December 2017

Police are appealing for witnesses after a serious sexual assault in Lowestoft.

The attack occurred in the early hours of yesterday morning, Saturday 9 December, in Kimberley Road.

The victim – a woman aged in her 30s – was walking along Oulton Road at around 4am when a man driving what she describes as a small light or silver coloured car, stopped and offered her a lift, which she accepted as he appeared to be genuine.

At some time between 4.15am and 4.55am the suspect stopped the car in Kimberley Road, where he raped the victim in the vehicle. She then managed to get out of the car and ran away to get help, following which the police were called.

The victim is being supported by specialist trained officers as detectives have been undertaking initial enquiries into the incident.

The suspect is described as being Asian, aged between 30 and 40, short and of slight build. During the car journey he stated to the suspect that he often offered people lifts to ‘make friends’. 

Detective Superintendent Marina Ericson, of the Major Investigation Team, said: "This was a despicable attack and the victim has shown great courage by working with our detectives and helping them piece together the sequence of events. 

"I am appealing to anyone who was in Kimberley Road, or any of the roads along the route described below, between 4am and 4.55am on Saturday morning and who saw a car matching the description as provided to come forward. 

"We would like to hear from anyone else who may have been offered a lift in similar circumstances recently by a man matching this description, as he indicated to the victim that it was something he has done before. 

"The suspect presented himself as genuine and the victim accepted a lift in good faith. However, I would warn anyone against getting into a vehicle with a stranger, or from walking alone at night. Always plan your journey home by walking in groups, making arrangements to get a lift with a friend, or using a taxi.”

Detectives are specifically appealing to the driver of a blue or green coloured Ford Fiesta which had broken down in Kimberley Road at around 5.30am to come forward. He was given assistance by a local resident to get the car started and may have vital information to assist the investigation.

Officers are also appealing for anyone who may have been in the vicinity of Kimberley Road, or any of the other roads along the route taken by the suspect’s vehicle (detailed below), between 4am and 4.55am to make contact. This includes anyone who witnessed anything suspicious and anyone who may have dashcam, headcam or CCTV footage.

The route the car travelled along is believed to have included the following roads:

Oulton Road, Church Road, Boston Road, St Peters Street (A1144), Bascule Bridge, Belvedere Road, Horn Hill, Waveney Drive, Durban Road, and Kimberley Road.

Anyone with information about this attack, or who was in any of the roads stated during the relevant times and witnessed anything suspicious, is asked to contact Suffolk Police on 101 quoting reference 78398/17, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.