Men convicted of kidnap and rape of Ipswich girl
- Credit: Metropolitan Police
Two men have been found guilty of the kidnap and rape of an Ipswich girl following an eight-week trial.
Abdul Howe, 21, of Fortunegate Road, Brent, and Ajani Williams, 21, of Keslake Road, Brent, have been found guilty of a number of charges, at Isleworth Crown Court.
The victim, then 17, attended Lewisham police station in September 2020 to report she had been kidnapped and raped.
She explained that she had been taken from her Ipswich home by Howe, after meeting him on social media and meeting up in London.
Howe had groomed and exploited her as part of his county lines drug operation, which moved drugs from London to Ipswich.
The victim was first taken to a hostel in Ipswich where she was assaulted with nunchucks and raped.
She was then forced to travel back to Howes' home in Hammersmith, London where Anjani Williams met them.
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The pair repeatedly assaulted her over two days, and then allowed her to leave after forcing her to make a voice note indicating she consented to sex.
After reporting the incident, the victim was provided with specialist support including a dedicated officer from the Sexual Offences Investigation Team, who developed a strong relationship with the victim.
Referrals were provided to counselling services and support networks, and the officer also spent time ensuring the victim got back into school and could continue her studies.
Although the victim knew the suspect's street names, their real identities were unknown to her, so the police's first task was to work out who they were and find them.
The Hammersmith address was identified by the victim, and despite being vacant on police arrival, an image of Howe was quickly provided to them.
He was later found at a linked address, where he was arrested and charged.
Detectives worked closely with the Metropolitan Police's forensics teams at the crime scene in Hammersmith and located a fingermark, which when tested proved to be a match to Anjani Williams.
He was subsequently circulated as wanted, and despite going on the run, he was tracked down to a hotel in Bayswater, London, where he was arrested at the end of October.
He was in possession of a quantity of cannabis with a street value of approximately £7,500.
Searches of the Ipswich Hostel led to the discovery of the nunchucks and a sword, which was used to threaten the victim.
The scabbard of the sword had a fingerprint, which identified it as being used by Howe, while a pair of latex gloves contained DNA from Howe and Williams.
Detective Constable Tony Larkin, who led the investigation said: "The offences committed by these men against a vulnerable teenage girl are abhorrent and her account is one of the most distressing I have ever heard.
“They are extremely dangerous individuals and our city will be safer now they are off our streets.
“The victim in this case has shown incredible bravery, from initially coming forward and reporting what had happened to providing the vital evidence which secured today’s verdicts.
"We hope this shows how seriously we take allegations of this nature and that we will provide support at every step of the way to ensure justice is served.”
Howe was found guilty of two counts of kidnap, seven counts of rape, one count of possession of an item with a blade or point, one count of sexual assault by penetration, one count of false imprisonment, two counts of actual bodily harm and one count of perverting the course of justice.
Williams was found guilty of false imprisonment, actual bodily harm, five counts of rape and one count of perverting the course of justice. He also pleaded guilty to possession with intent to supply a class B drug.
Detective Chief Superintendent Owain Richards, of the Metropolitan Police, said: “County lines causes destruction within our communities and, as in this case, offenders often exploit and abuse vulnerable young people after gaining their trust.
“Our efforts to tackle this type of criminality and the supply of drugs are going on across our boroughs every day so that we can safeguard young people and remove those who cause such harm off the streets.
“I am immensely proud of all of the officers involved in this investigation and they were recognised for their efforts in our commendation event last year.”