Italian men face jail for rape of woman in Soho nightclub that left her needing surgery

16 October 2019, 09:16 | Updated: 16 October 2019, 18:45

Two men convicted of raping a woman in a Soho nightclub in an attack that was so brutal she required surgery are facing jail.

The victim was targeted by Ferdinando Orlando, 25, and Lorenzo Costanzo, 26, at a club in Argyll Street in the early hours of 26 February 2017.

The Italians evaded justice for more than a year when when they went back to their home country, but were caught when Orlando came to the UK in March 2018 for a football match.

He was arrested at Heathrow, taken into custody and charged with rape the following day.

Costanzo contacted police after Orlando's arrest and arranged to return to the UK, where he was also detained and charged.

They claimed the sex was consensual, but were convicted at Isleworth crown court of four counts of rape.

The pair met the 23-year-old on the dancefloor at around 2am and they both began to kiss her, the trial heard.

The victim is seen on CCTV to be visibly drunk as she is passed between the two men who take turns to kiss her.

The court heard that just eight minutes after meeting, the two men had to prop her up as they escorted her to a maintenance room where they broke a lock to get in and raped her.

The two men emerged six minutes later with the victim and rearranged her clothing before supporting her as they walked her to the female toilets where they abandoned her.

They were then captured running up the stairs out of the club and high-fiving each other before one of them showed the other footage of the rape on a mobile phone.

The victim was discovered in the toilets an hour later by staff and was helped home by a French couple.

Her housemate found her to be in such severe pain that an ambulance and police were called and she was taken to hospital for surgery.

Detectives discovered that Costanzo had left the country and returned to Italy just hours after the attack and Orlando left a week later.

Detective Sergeant Rebecca Woodsford 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."

She added: "This was a long and thorough investigation, with no forensic leads and hours of CCTV to track through.

"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."