Four people jailed after woman was trapped, tortured, threatened and raped in Banbury flat
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Four people have been jailed after a woman was trapped, tortured, threatened and raped in a Banbury flat.
Twenty-one-year-old Alexander Azevedo, 20-year-olds Natasha Washington and Sonny Weir and a 17-year-old Argest Sallaj had previously been convicted of multiple charges including false imprisonment, the enforced consumption of drugs, assault, and rape. A jury at Oxford Crown Court found them guilty after a four-week trial, which ended in March.
The offenders trapped the victim in Azevedo’s home for several hours and repeatedly assaulted her following a drug-fuelled argument between Washington, Weir and the victim. They forced her to consume drugs, poured chilli sauce on her, beat her with various household objects and cut her hair.
After the group had beaten and tortured her, the intoxicated and barely conscious woman was left alone in a room with Azevedo who raped her.
Azevedo later put the victim in a taxi home to her mother’s house. When she arrived home, she was taken to hospital for treatment of her injuries and later was able to give her account to the police.
Today, the defendants were given prison sentences totalling 35 years.
Alex Azevedo, aged 21, of Britannia Road, Banbury, was sentenced to 15 years in jail for two counts of rape of a woman over 16 years of age and one count each of false imprisonment, assault causing actual bodily harm and administering a noxious substance with intent.
Natasha Washington, aged 20, of no fixed abode, was jailed for eight years for one count each of false imprisonment and administering a noxious substance with intent and five counts of assault causing actual bodily harm.
Sonny Weir, aged 20, of Pope Walk, Banbury, was jailed for nine years for imprisonment and assault causing actual bodily harm, two counts of administering a noxious substance with intent and assault causing actual bodily harm.
Argest Sallaj, aged 17, of De La Warr Drive, Banbury, was jailed for three years for one count of false imprisonment and assault causing actual bodily harm and three counts of battery. The judge lifted reporting restrictions on his identity.
Another 17-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was found not guilty of one count of false imprisonment and assisting an offender. During his arrest on June 25 last year, he was found in possession of cannabis and pleaded guilty to possession of a class B drug on October 13. He was given a six-month conditional discharge and had fines amounting to £102.
Thames Valley Police said the victim went a property in Britannia Road, Banbury, at about 1.30am on June 21 last year where all the defendants were also present.
“At around midday, the victim was told that she was not allowed to leave. Weir locked the door and windows and barricaded the lounge door shut with a chair and utensils,” they said.
“The victim was subject to multiple assaults throughout the day, including being burnt with cigarettes and having hot and cold water poured over her.
“She had her nose pinched causing her to open her mouth and was then forced to inhale heroin and diazepam.
"Azevedo then raped the victim. She was allowed to leave the property at around 12.10am the following day.
“The victim suffered from bruises and burns over her body.”
Azevedo and Washington were charged on June 24 last year, Weir was charged on June 25 last year, and Sallaj and the 17-year-old boy were charged on August 19 last year.
Investigating officer Detective Sergeant Mark Personius, based at Banbury police station, said: “Following a thorough investigation, Azevedo, Washington, Weir and Sallaj have been sentenced today.
“We hope this sentence demonstrates that we are relentless in our pursuit of offenders and as a result the public will be reassured that we take all reports of incidents of this nature extremely seriously.
“Tackling rape is a priority for the force and this sentence today demonstrates our commitment to bringing offenders to justice and ensuring that woman and girls feel safer in the community.
“I am pleased that justice has been achieved for the woman that survived such a horrendous and harrowing ordeal.
“She has shown incredible courage and bravery throughout the investigation and in particular during the trial.
“I know that this outcome will not undo the damage that their actions have caused her but I hope it offers some comfort that they have been brought to justice and can now concentrate on her recovery and future.”
The victim added: "I am glad they have all been sent to prison.
“However they will serve a fraction of time in comparison to what this ordeal has done to me.
“The effects of what they did to me will last forever.”
Crown Prosecution Service lawyer Marc Thompson said the victim has shown great bravery.
He added: “The victim’s bravery – giving police interviews, providing as much evidence as she could – is truly commendable, and was vital in helping us secure the convictions. I hope today’s sentences allow her to bring some closure to this chapter of her ordeal.
“The dreadful violence shown towards this young woman was truly senseless. Alexander Azevedo’s offences are especially horrific, taking place at a time when she was in no fit state to object to any sexual acts, or to defend herself.
“The Crown Prosecution Service is committed to working with the police and supporting victims of these dreadful crimes, so that offenders can be brought to justice.”