A woman who went on an off-license to charge her mobile phone was beaten ‘black and blue’ and raped by the shopkeeper in a terrifying four-hour ordeal.
The woman was on her way to see a friend and had gone into the G+T off license on Wilmslow Road in Withington to ask if she could charge her phone behind the counter as the battery had died, a court heard.
Swapnil Kulat (30), who originally hails from Nagpur, was working in the shop alone, obliged and told the woman to sit down and have a drink with him, and another woman joined them.
However, after a short time, his behaviour took a nasty turn and he began acting, in his victim’s words, like a ‘psycho’ or a ‘man who had lost his mind'.
He suddenly closed the shop locking the two women inside, Alison Heyworth prosecuting said.
Kulat, who had never been in trouble with the police before, has now been jailed for seven and a half years after the ‘vicious’ and ‘terrifying’ attack which lasted several hours.
Both women begged him to let them leave, and he did eventually let the second woman leave the shop but told his victim she must stay.
And once the pair were alone he became ‘more and more aggressive’ producing a large silver knife, ‘jabbing it towards her’ and threatening to kill her.
He then began to physically attack her, punching and kicking her and hitting her all over her body with a walking stick, which was eventually found in three pieces covered in blood.
He later ordered her to come and lie down with him in the back of the shop where he raped her.
Several hours after she had first come into the store, Kulat let her leave, giving her £10 to get a cab home, and threatening to send someone to kill her if she told anyone about what had happened.
The woman ‘completely lost track of time’ during the ordeal. She had gone into the shop at 9.30pm and it had begun to get light when she was eventually freed, with a judge saying the attack had likely continued over a period of four to six hours.
She was initially so ‘frightened, ashamed and embarrassed’ at what had happened she went and hid in her flat and it wasn’t until around 24 hours later she informed the police and sought medical help for her injuries.
She was ‘rendered black and blue’ the judge said, with no part of her body not affected by bruising, suffering 37 separate injuries.
She is said to have now physically made a full recovery after the incident on March 19 this year.
Kulat admitted false imprisonment, rape, and assault causing actual bodily harm (ABH) at an earlier hearing.
Michael Brady, defending, said Kulat claims he 'lost his temper' after a large amount of cash, around £1,500, went missing from inside the shop.
However a judge said there was ‘no evidence’ of that or to link it to either of the woman, and he believed it to be untrue.
“It is quite remarkable that someone like this defendant has committed the offenses he has,” Mr Brady said.
“He’s a man of 30 years of age, with no previous convictions, and is a highly intelligent man who came to this country to study three years ago. He expresses his genuine shame and remorse at what had happened. This is wholly disgraceful and inexcusable conduct, for which he really has no acceptable explanation, and he knows he will pay a very heavy price.”
Jailing him for seven years and eight months, Judge Timothy Smith said: “This was a vicious onslaught and an appalling episode of violence.
Police said help and support would always be available for victims of sexual offenders, saying they would do everything possible “to bring these people to justice”.
The immediate legal action taken by the authorities against the rapist goes on to prove, how unlike in India, the authorities are aware of their responsibilities.
Information and cover image source: independent