A violent sex offender who assaulted a woman after she got off a train in Tonbridge has been sentenced to more than five years in prison.
Alexandru Gritar followed his unsuspecting victim for more than a mile before she was beaten repeatedly and left suffering head injuries.
The victim, aged in her 30s, was targeted by Gritar during the evening of 22 September 2019. After leaving the train station she was followed to a location close to Shipbourne Road, where she was sexually assaulted and repeatedly punched. Police attended and the victim was taken to hospital with suspected concussion. She also suffered injuries consistent with being strangled, as well as cuts and abrasions.
An investigation quickly led officers to detect CCTV evidence which showed the suspect walking closely behind the victim. A suspicious car was located and stopped by police on the following day. Enquiries revealed the driver was not involved in the incident but shortly before the offence had given a lift to a work colleague. This led officers to an address in Hildenborough, where Gritar was located and arrested. A search of a property where he had been staying identified clothing which matched what the suspect had been wearing.
Aged 46, of no fixed address, Gritar was interviewed and confirmed he was the man captured on CCTV, which also showed him visiting the same shops the victim had entered. Gritar denied following her though. He claimed he had simply gone to the shops to buy glue for his shoes and then got lost. He was bailed with conditions, pending results of forensic tests, but on 10 October was again arrested in Wales, after attempting to board a ferry to Ireland with false documents. At around the same time, results of the forensic tests provided a match to the suspect’s DNA, from the victim’s clothing, and Gritar was charged and remanded in custody.
Appearing before Maidstone Crown Court he pleaded guilty to sexual assault and with committing an offence with intent to commit a sexual offence. He also admitted a charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and of possessing a false identity document with improper intent. On Wednesday 1 July 2020 Gritar was sentenced to five years and two months’ imprisonment, with an extended licence period of five years. He will have to serve a minimum of two thirds of the sentence before he can be considered for parole. Gritar was also added to the sex offenders register, indefinitely.
Leading the investigation was Detective Constable Marcus Cameron, who said: ‘Gritar is a dangerous and predatory sex offender who subjected his victim to a truly terrifying ordeal, forcing her to endure a brutal and sustained assault. I have no doubt he would have continued to pose a serious threat to other potential victims had he not been caught and I’m therefore thankful we have been able to provide irrefutable evidence in court, leaving Gritar with little choice but to plead guilty.
‘The victim in this case is continuing to recover from the injuries she sustained and has little memory of the actual assault. Her courage and determination to assist our investigation has ensured justice has now been served and I do hope this sentence will now provide her some further comfort and reassurance.’