Two women, who were raped by a Luton taxi driver over a decade ago, have finally been able to get justice for their ordeal, after their attacker was jailed for 22 years.
Bedfordshire Police report that Shipu Ahmed, 35, was sentenced at Luton Crown Court in June for two counts of rape committed within the space of two weeks in late 2007. He was convicted on 4 May, following a two-week trial, after DNA evidence linked him to both the unsolved cases.
His DNA profile was traced as part of work carried out under Operation Painter. The operation began in 2016 by the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit to review undetected rapes and sexual offences which occurred in between 1974 and 1999.
Ahmed’s first victim was only 15 years old when she was walking along a street on 30 November 2007, around 11pm. Ahmed offered her a lift and took her to a secluded picnic area where he raped her before dropping her back to where he’d picked her up.
The incident was reported to police and the following day a forensic examination of the scene was carried out, resulting in the recovery of a condom which contained some DNA.
Two weeks later, Ahmed went on to attack a 22-year-old woman after she and an acquaintance got into his car at a taxi rank after a night out in Dunstable in Dec-ember 2007. After dropping her friend off, Ahmed sped away with the victim and drove her to an area of Luton, where he raped her in the back of the car.
She reported it to the police the same morning and had a medical examination, where samples of DNA were taken.
At the time of the attacks, several lines of enquiry were carried out to trace the offender, but officers were unable to identify him.
Then, in September 2017, Ahmed was arrested for an assault and his DNA was collected as part of the investigation. It proved a match on the DNA database from evidence collected during both rape investigations, linking him to the offences.
Officers carried out further lines of enquiry following this discovery and in October 2017, Ah-med was arrested and charged with two counts of rape, resulting in the substantial 22-year sentence.
One of the victims, in her statement, described how this has had huge effect on her life.
She said: “I cannot put fully into words what this has done to me. There have been parts of my life, especially since the police told me that they had found him, that have been filled with nothing but anger, suffering, bitterness and stress and just sheer mental and physical pain – all caused by the actions of one man, one night, raping me.
“The effects of what he did that night have been so far reaching, silently torturing my mind over the last ten years; no matter how hard I tried to forget, it was always there. I am so relieved that it is over.”
The other victim stated that she was shocked to have received a call from the police ten years later. She said: “When I found out that an arrest had been made, I was happy that the police had found him. It made me feel like the police had believed me and that was important to me.”
DI Pushpa Guild from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit, said: “We are satisfied that Shipu Ahmed has received such a substantial sentence as these attacks have had a huge impact on both the victims and their families since 2007 and it’s remarkable they finally have justice.
“Both women were incredibly brave in coming forward to report the attacks and we would like to commend their courage as they had to endure the ordeal of giving evidence and reliving it all again so many years later.”
DCS Mark Lay of Bedfordshire Police, the officer in charge of Operation Painter, said: “This is the second successful conviction and substantial sentence under Operation Painter thanks to advancements in DNA and forensic science allowing us to review cases dating back decades.
“This further proves the importance of this work in revisiting past cases in order to bring evil predators to justice and deliver a form of closure for their victims.”