Man, 36, jailed for raping teenager in flowerbed at London shopping centre

27 October 2022, 11:51

A man was jailed for raping a teenage girl after she left the Bat and Ball bar in Westfield Stratford
A man was jailed for raping a teenage girl after she left the Bat and Ball bar in Westfield Stratford. Picture: Google Maps

By Daisy Stephens

A 36-year-old man has been jailed for 10 and a half years for raping a 15-year-old girl in a flowerbed at a London shopping centre.

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The girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was with friends at the Bat and Ball bar in Westfield Stratford on September 4 2021.

She became separated from her friends and was approached by Rufat Kasamaj, of High Road, Leyton, at around 10.30pm.

Kasamaj was caught on CCTV observing her before leading her to a secluded alleyway, dragging her into a flowerbed and raping her.

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Tom Forster, prosecuting, said the victim was "too intoxicated to resist" but "made it clear to him several times that she did not want to engage in sexual activity and also told him she was under 16".

Mr Forster said Kasamaj "simply walked away and left her where she was" after the attack.

Kasamaj led his victim out of the shopping centre before raping her
Kasamaj led his victim out of the shopping centre before raping her. Picture: Alamy

CCTV showed Kasamaj guiding his "heavily intoxicated" victim through the shopping centre.

Mr Forster said he pretended to reassure her when she said she had lost her friends, but instead assaulted as they walked round, with him "bodily holding her throughout".

He led her outside and towards an area of concrete benches, then "dragged the victim further into a flowerbed".

They were out of sight of CCTV for 20 minutes while he raped her.

The dazed girl then approached members of the public, and a man called Marian Petrea contacted her father and escorted her home to her family when she told him what had happened.

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When Kasamaj was arrested in September he claimed he had been "unconscious" and did not remember anything because of excessive alcohol consumption, but Mr Forester said there was "nothing from his demeanour to suggest he was intoxicated".

In court the victim, now 16, said she had been plagued by suicidal thoughts and had to sleep with her bedroom light on "through fear and anxiousness".

She said the crime had "torn me to pieces" but told the court, despite the impact of the attack, she had sat every one of her GCSEs and is now in college with a part-time job.

"I'm determined that this incident will not ruin my life and make me a stronger person than I once was," she said.

Kasamaj originally pleaded guilty in October last year but was allowed to vacate the plea in March 2022.

On July 11, the day of his trial, he pleaded guilty again.

He was sentenced at the Old Bailey on Wednesday to 10 and a half years, with two thirds to be served in prison before an extended licence period of five years.