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Terrified student was raped in her bed before attacker fled abroad to evade justice

A man who had been invited back to student accommodation after a night out snuck into a girl’s room and raped her.

The victim had been out partying with her housemates earlier in the evening before they invited Mauro Eric Catamo De Oliveira and his friend back to their nearby home for more drinks.

At court this week it was heard how she was terrified and shocked to be wakened by the defendant sexually touching her in bed, which culminated in rape, in the early hours of Wednesday September 28, 2016.

Catamo De Oliveira, 30, of no fixed address, fled the country to his homeland Portugal after being charged and was only recently extradited to the UK to face trial.

A jury at Leicester Crown Court convicted him of sexual assault and rape, which he denied, claiming the victim consented – but he admitted breaching his bail by going on the run.

Passing sentence, Judge Philip Head said: “The complainant and her housemates, all students in Leicester, went for a night out and in the early hours they met you and your friend in a bar and invited you both back to their flat.

“Whatever might have been intended by the other women or your friend, the complainant had no sexual interest in you.

“She then went to her room and fell deeply asleep and would have been affected by a substantial amount of drink she’d earlier consumed.

“The general understanding was you’d sleep on the sofa in the communal living room.

“You made your way uninvited into her bedroom.”

The judge said the victim awoke to find an apparent stranger laying behind her in bed, according to Leicestershire Live.

The judge described her as being “bewildered and terrified” as the defendant proceeded to have unprotected sex with her, despite her resistance.

The university student managed to escape from the bed and locked herself in the bathroom, where she messaged a friend for help.

The defendant made off.

Judge Head said: “She was absolutely distraught and crying hysterically and was unable to speak for some time.”

In her confusion, she was convinced it was someone else that had got into the flat and later said the defendant hadn’t seemed ‘the type’ to behave in that way.

The judge said: “When arrested, you said she was an active and consenting participant until she suddenly changed her mind.

“When you gave evidence, you said she answered your knock on her door and claimed she was completely naked.”

The judge said that Catamo De Oliveira was “arrogant” and “convinced of his own sexual charms”.

He added: “The jury concluded you decided to get sexual relief at her expense.

“She was certainly asleep when you went into her bedroom.

“She hadn’t given you the slightest indication or any encouragement.”

The judge added: “You remained in this country for several months, until you were charged and then fled, returning to Portugal.

“A European arrest warrant was issued and you made it clear you weren’t prepared to return to the UK voluntarily.

“The pandemic may have contributed to the delay, but if you’d agreed to return your trial would have happened well before the covid-19 outbreak.

“Your attempt to evade justice meant your victim has had this dreadful experience unresolved for many years and it’s been reawakened when she was just beginning to get on with her life.”

James Varley, mitigating before sentence, said: “He’s a man with no previous convictions.

“There’s little I can say about the facts.

“He was 25 at the time.

“He went out at night and maybe drank too much and ended up in a flat with a bunch of other people – and we know what happened.

“He spent 120 days [in custody] awaiting extradition that should count towards his sentence.”

Catamo De Oliveira was jailed for a total of seven years and two months.

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