Rapists who high-fived each other while victim lay in pain jailed

Two rapists who hugged and high-fived each other while their 23-year-old female victim lay in extreme pain in the toilets of a Soho nightclub have each been jailed for seven-and-a-half years.

Ferdinando Orlando, 25, and Lorenzo Costanzo, 26, both Italian nationals, were arrested after police discovered them re-enacting the attack on the club’s CCTV recordings.

Officers searched through hours of footage to find the moment they graphically re-enacted what they had earlier done to the woman in the maintenance room of the Toy Room club on Argyll Street in central London on February 26, 2017.

CCTV also caught the two men watching back footage they had taken of the attack on a mobile phone.

Police said the two men escaped justice for more than a year by returning to Italy, but they were eventually caught after Costanzo travelled to the UK to watch an Arsenal versus AC Milan football match in 2018.

A jury found them guilty of two counts of rape each following a trial.

Sentencing the pair at Isleworth Crown Court on Friday, Judge Giles Curtis-Raleigh said they had committed “very serious offences” against “an entirely innocent and vulnerable young woman”.

Detective Sergeant Rebecca Woodsford, from the Metropolitan Police, said she had informed the victim of the sentence over the phone.

Speaking on her behalf, the officer said: “It does matter to her but it was the conviction, and that the jury believed her, is what she has taken away from this.”

In an impact statement, the victim said the rape had left her in “constant fear” and unable to relax or enjoy drinking with friends when she goes out.

Ferdinando Orlando and Lorenzo Costanzo
Ferdinando Orlando and Lorenzo Costanzo

She has no memory of the attack and only learned of its full details during the trial.

The victim said: “I truly struggle with how two humans could behave like such animals to another person and think of that as funny and like a badge of honour.”

Police said CCTV footage from the night of the attack showed the defendants each kissing and dancing with the victim, who was visibly drunk and unsteady on her feet.

Within eight minutes of first meeting her, they walked her to the maintenance room, where there were no cameras, and raped her.

Police and prosecutors argued the woman’s condition meant she was unable to consent to sex.

Orlando and Costanzo admitted filming the incident, but claimed they had consensual sex with the victim.

About 16 minutes later, the pair re-emerged with their victim, but they abandoned her in the female toilets before running off.

She was found by club staff in severe pain and helped home by concerned strangers.

Ferdinando Orlando and Lorenzo Costanzo
Ferdinando Orlando and Lorenzo Costanzo

She later went to hospital and required surgery on an injury.

The judge said medical evidence in the trial did not show how the injury happened so he would not sentence the defendants on the basis they caused it.

He said the pair had acted together and displayed “triumphalist behaviour”, with the attack having “very considerable psychological harm” on the victim.

Mitigating, Sarah Elliott QC, representing Orlando, said he was a “fundamentally decent… young man who made a colossal error of judgment”.

Sallie Bennett-Jenkins QC, representing Costanzo, said he was of “previous exemplary character” and there had been no “malice” or “force” but a “terrible error of misjudgment”.

Both said the two men, who have no previous convictions, felt “regret” and “remorse”.

A spokesman for the Toy Room nightclub said it was “appalled” by the incident.

He added: “The safety of our guests is our top priority, and we’ve done everything we can to co-operate fully with the police to help them bring this case to trial and ensure a conviction.”