A bar worker has been sentenced to five years' imprisonment after being convicted of sexually assaulting and raping a colleague after their shift had ended.
23-year-old Ekene Mbanefo, a Nigerian national who lives on the St Saviour's Estate in Bermondsey, was found guilty at Inner London Crown Court of rape and sexual assault by penetration.
In the early hours of 4 May 2012 police officers on patrol around the St Saviour's Estate found the 19-year-old victim in a distressed state. She was taken to a police station before later going to the Haven rape crisis centre.
The victim had been at work the previous evening at a bar in the Old Kent Road where she worked with Mbanefo, who she knew as 'Kingsley' and considered a friend.
After their shift had ended Mbanefo and the victim had a few drinks and – as they had done on previous occasions – went on to his flat.
The victim fell asleep and was woken by Mbanefo sexually assaulting her and then later raping her.
The victim fought Mbanefo off and got out of the flat – calling a friend to tell them what had happened to her – before eventually being found by police.
Mbanefo was arrested the next day. He answered no comment to all questions put to him and did not even disclose his address which meant that the victim had to be driven by police to point out the scene of the crime. He was charged on the same day.
DC Corrado Di Mascio, the Sapphire officer in charge of the investigation, said: "The victim has shown immense courage throughout this trial, which was harrowing and distressing for her.
"The victim was assisted throughout the process by a designated specialist officer to provide support and guidance. I hope this conviction will provide reassurance to all our communities that we will relentlessly pursue those who commit these dreadful crimes."
Detective Chief Inspector Pete Thomas, responsible for Sapphire investigations in south east London, said: "Ekene Mbanefo took advantage of a vulnerable woman causing her immense distress. The victim was committed to seeing her attacker brought to justice and sent to prison and her determination will provide confidence to others to come forward and report what has happened to them."
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