Merseyside Police can confirm that a 31-year-old man was sentenced to 18 years in prison with six years on extended licence at Liverpool Crown Court today (Thursday 6th June), after being convicted of three rapes, three sexual assaults and three counts of actual bodily harm.
Eugen Ancuta, of Grosvenor Road, Wavertree, pleaded guilty on Wednesday 3 April to three counts of actual bodily harm which took place in 2018.
He was tried for a series of rapes, which occurred over three consecutive weeks in August 2018. He raped one woman on 11 August 2018, a second woman on 19 August 2018, and a third woman on 26 August 2018. The three offences happened on Grosvenor Road in Wavertree. He also physically assaulted all three women causing actual bodily harm.
He was also ordered to sign the Sex Offenders' Register for life.
Detective Inspector Craig Turner said: "We welcome the jailing of Ancuta, who subjected his victims to shocking attacks, leaving them physically and mentally traumatised.
"His victims have shown real bravery in coming forward and I hope his sentencing today gives them some sense of closure and justice.
"Merseyside Police takes every report of sexual offences, including those reported by sex workers, extremely seriously, and has dedicated officers who are trained to both thoroughly investigate sexual assault allegations and make sure that those reporting them are properly supported by specialist officers.
"I would like to take this opportunity to reassure and urge anyone in the sex industry who has suffered a sexual offence that if you can find the courage to come forward and speak to us, we will deal with you sensitively and make sure that reports are properly and thoroughly investigated."
Following a successful bid for funding of £650,000 from the Home Office by Merseyside’s Police Commissioner, Jane Kennedy, the Red Umbrella project was set up to help protect sex workers from sexual violence, exploitation and trafficking.
Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Jane Kennedy said: “I applaud these women who have shown tremendous courage in coming forward, giving evidence against Ancuta and ensuring that he faces the penalty for his crimes.
“Merseyside Police is the first police Force in the country to recognise these offences as hate crimes, because the women are a vulnerable, targeted group.
“Through the Red Umbrella project, the Force is working hard to offer further protection for sex workers, while ensuring those who are subjected to violence are better supported by specialist officers and ISVAs. I hope that through this initiative more women who have suffered abuse, exploitation or violence will have the confidence to speak out which in turn means more perpetrators can be put behind bars, making our communities safer for everyone.”
Shelly Stoops from the Changing Lives Red Umbrella Project said: "The project, established in December 2017, aims to encourage sex workers who become victims of crime to report them.
"Merseyside Police and Red Umbrella work in collaboration and have a dedicated Sex work Detective who is trained to both thoroughly investigate crimes against sex workers and make sure that those reporting them are properly supported by the officer and our Specialist ISVA (Independent Sexual Violence Advisor).
"The Red Umbrella Project is focused on protecting sex workers from violence, exploitation and bringing justice to this community. Merseyside Police is the only force in the world to treat crimes against sex workers as Hate Crimes and this sends a powerful message to both victims and perpetrators that this is not acceptable.
"It has put in place victim-focused processes to better support sex workers who are victims of crime and those who are at risk, both on the streets, indoors, escorting and online.
"It is hoped the service will not only help sex workers get the support they need but also ensure those who remain in the industry are better protected and are able to work free from violence, abuse and exploitation."
Anyone who has been the victim of a sexual offence can call officers on 101.
You can also contact Merseyside Police social media desk via Twitter @MerPolCC or Facebook Merseyside Police CC. Information can also be passed to Crimestoppers, anonymously and for free, on 0800 555 111 or via their online form at: https://crimestoppers-uk.org/give-information/give-information
Find Changing Lives Red Umbrella on Facebook Red Umbrella at Changing Lives and Twitter @RedUmbrellaCL