Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Another Woman Raped by Person She Met Online

By Leon Watson

Internet daters have been warned after a legal secretary was raped by a man she met on a popular dating website.

Peter Ramsey, 26, beat the woman to the ground, ripped off her tights and had sex with her when she refused him a goodnight kiss at her front door. Ramsey punched the 27-year-old repeatedly knocking out one of her front teeth and left her with 21 injuries. Her facial wounds were among the most shocking detectives investigating the case had ever seen.

The sex attacker was caught after using the victim's Oyster travelcard to board a nightbus within minutes of the attack in Clapham, south west London.

Ramsey and the woman had spent four days chatting on plentyoffish.com site which claims on its homepage to be 'responsible for more dates and more relationships than any other dating site'. They arranged to meet for drinks in Brixton town centre at 7pm.

She later said: 'He seemed like a nice guy. The date was going very well. I thought we had a lot in common.' In the early hours of August 27 last year they went for something to eat before climbing into a cab to her flat near Clapham Common. She believed he was going to walk her to her front door but when he lent in for a kiss and she pulled back, he 'switched'.

In the communal entrance to the block, he pinned her against the wall and rained down punches on her face until she slumped to the ground. When she screamed for help he used one hand to cover her mouth and pinch her nose shut, while continuing to hit her with the other fist. 'I thought I was going to die,' she told Inner London Crown Court.


Outside court DC Huggins praised the SOIT role which was crucial in securing the conviction. He said of the result: 'I feel relieved that somebody like Ramsey who had access via the internet to so many women, is now safely behind bars.

'He posed a severe risk to other women on that internet site, which he had been using for a number of years. I would urge people using dating websites to thoroughly vet the people they meet and before they spend time alone. I would also like to thank my SOIT officer, who had the initial contact with the victim. I would like to reassure other potential victims that there are people who are willing to listen to them and take their allegations very seriously in order to bring the perpetrator to justice.

'The victim in this case is relieved about the verdict. She was also concerned for other women and that if he had walked free, there would have been other victims. This woman was unrecognisable after the attack, compared to the woman who gave evidence. Fortunately she has recovered from her physical injuries. I have been in the police for 14 years and these were some of the most shocking facial injuries I have ever seen.'

Ramsey, who has several previous convictions for shoplifting and assaulting police officers, but none for violence or sexual offences against women, then stole the bleeding woman's bag.

As he left she staggered to her feet and called to a passing man, a Muslim on his way to Ramadan prayers, and he came to her aid. The victim's mother, who had heard the screams, also rushed out to find her disfigured and traumatised daughter.

In a further insult, before Ramsey fled, he said to the pedestrian of the two women: 'Don't worry about them - they're crazy.' The rapist then used the woman's stolen Oyster card on a passing N35 bus.

The following day he left two voicemails on the victim's mobile telling her he was sorry and had now sobered up. He said he was left feeling something had happened that 'wasn't good'.

Soon after her ordeal the woman was interviewed by a specialist SOIT (Sexual Offences Interview Technique) officer from Lambeth's Sapphire Unit. PC Damien Hutton-Baber worked closely with the victim to get her detailed account, an interview which was filmed and played to the jury to reduce her time in the witness box.

Ramsey was arrested a week after the attack when a DNA match appeared to have snared him. But when he lied he had not even met the woman on that day, officers were forced to dig deeper. DC Richard Huggins, the officer in charge of the investigation, examined CCTV footage from the bus which showed him on board near the scene.

Ramsey continued to deny the rape, changing his story at trial. He put forward the defence he had consensual sex with the woman but left her rowing with another man who must have beat her.

Ramsey boasted said he had been out with 'hundreds of women' and did not need to rape because he could get anyone he wanted. But he was found unanimously guilty following a trial.

Ramsey, of no fixed address but who had been staying with friends in Forest Hill, south east London, was convicted of rape, wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and theft.

Following the verdicts Judge Patricia Lees said: 'I would like an assessment of the defendant's future risk that he may pose to women. It seems to me the violence meted out was frankly horrific and wholly unnecessary to commit the offence of rape.'

Remanding him in custody ahead of sentence on April 27, Judge Lees warned him: 'You face an extremely lengthy sentence of imprisonment.' The court heard Ramsey has been diagnosed as biopolar while on remand.

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