Devon hotel worker jailed for violent sex attack on sleeping guest

Sinead Moore
Ilfracombe, North Devon
Ilfracombe, North Devon

A worker in an Ilfracombe hotel has been jailed for committing a violent sexual attack on a female guest as she slept in her room.

The migrant hotel worker crept into the 48-year-old visitor's room through a window after she went to bed following and drinking session in April.

Romanian Nelu Popa was living in the Cairn House Hotel in Ilfracombe at the time, reports the North Devon Journal.

The woman woke up to find him trying to have sex with her and she attempted to fight him off but he dragged her back twice when she tried to escape out of the window and door.

According to the Exeter Express and Echo, the woman was left terrified and with cuts and bruising on her face and private parts after the violent 15 minute ordeal. She checked out of the hotel the next day because she could not face returning to the scene of the attack.

Popa denied rape, claiming the woman invited him into her room on the lower ground floor, dragged him through the window and started kissing and cuddling him and then attacked him when he did not respond.

However, medical and forensic evidence, including bloodstains on the bedding and windowsill and DNA samples backed up the victim's account. Police also found Popa's silver neck chain on the hotel room floor where the victim had ripped it off in the struggle, reports the North Devon Journal.

Popa was found guilty of three counts of attempted rape by a jury at Exeter Crown Court earlier this month and jailed for eight years.

Popa came to Britain six months before the attack and had very little English. He needed and interpreter in court.

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