Two men have been jailed following a landmark rape case which is thought to be the first in the country in which charges were brought without a "clear allegation" from the victim.
Italian nationals, Ferdinando Orlando, 25, and Lorenzo Costanzo, 26, were caught on CCTV giving each other a ‘high five’ and hugging after attacking a 23-year-old woman in a Soho nightclub and then abandoning her in the toilet in extreme pain.
Despite the victim being too drunk to remember the attack, or be in a position to make an allegation, police pursued the case, using CCTV footage and medical evidence.
The officer who led the case, Detective Sergeant Rebecca Woodsford, urged any woman who found herself in a similar situation to come forward, saying: "If you do not know, we will still try to help."
The attack took place in a cupboard in the Toy Club nightclub in Soho in February 2017.
The victim had been celebrating a friend’s birthday and was described as being very drunk when she was approached by hyer two attackers on the dancefloor.
CCTV showed them taking it in turns to kiss the victim on the dance floor before escorting her to a cupboard.
Police and prosecutors argued the woman’s condition meant she was unable to consent to sex with the men.
About 16 minutes later the three re-emerged, with the defendants rearranging the victim’s clothing before they walk her to the female toilets and abandon her.
The two men then ran outside and high-fived each other, before watching back footage of the attack on a mobile phone.
The victim was found an hour later by a security guard in the toilet with severe injuries which required surgery. She lost 300ml of blood in the brutal attack.
The men were identified because the nightclub operated a system that scanned and stored the IDs of those entering.
The pair escaped justice for more than a year after the attack, by returning to Italy, but were eventually caught when Costanzo returned to the UK to watch an Arsenal versus Milan football match.
Orlando subsequently gave himself up and returned to the UK.
They were both jailed for seven and a half years yesterday following a trial at Isleworth Crown Court.
In a victim impact statement, the woman said the rape had left her in "constant fear" and unable to relax or enjoy drinking with friends when she goes out.
She added: "When I found out more than one man was involved I felt violently ill with the thought that two men did something this horrible … to me."
Ms Woodsford said: “The CCTV evidence was key in this case. The high fiving and hugging simply shows that what they thought of what they had done, The proud celebratory behaviour really demonstrates exactly how they felt about it.
"I thought it was really shocking footage. I have not seen footage like that before but I really think it demonstrates the thought process and how they felt about the whole incident.”
She added: “It is the first time I have seen a prosecution result in a conviction in a case where there is no clear allegation in relation to sexual crime.
"It proves our commitment to victims of rape and people who believe they are victims of rape and that we will investigate what has
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“One of the big messages we want to give is that if you do not know, we will still try and help.”