Beds, Herts & Bucks

Bedford rapist Davinder Singh given 22-year jail term

Davinder Singh
Image caption Davinder Singh produced a hairpin from a bandana and slashed his arm at a court hearing on Friday

A man who raped two women in Bedford has been given a 22-year jail sentence.

Davinder Singh, 33, of no fixed address but from the Bedford area, denied the charges but was convicted at Luton Crown Court.

He raped an 18-year-old woman twice in November 2010 and threatened to stab her. Two years earlier, he carried out a similar rape on a 24-year-old woman.

Singh's sentencing was adjourned on Friday when he slashed his arm with a sharpened hairpin.

He had left the dock to address the judge and told the court he was innocent and that his trial had been unfair.

'Predatory offender'

Singh, who had earlier sacked his barrister, then slashed his arm and put the sharpened hairpin to his neck.

Armed officers were called, the court was evacuated and Singh was taken to hospital.

Judge Barbara Mensah refused to deal with Singh in his absence, stating that she wanted her sentencing remarks to "ring in his ears".

On Monday, she told Singh he must serve a minimum of 11 years.

Speaking after the hearing, Det Con Sarah Hern, of the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit, said: "There is no doubt this man is a dangerous, predatory offender.

"I'm pleased with the sentence, it reflects both the fact he poses a serious risk to women and the impact he has had on the lives of the women he has attacked.

"It's thanks to the bravery of both these women in giving their evidence that he has been given such a lengthy custodial sentence."

Police told the BBC that Singh's 2010 victim was out with friends when she had been desperate for the toilet so had walked down the side of some buildings.

Singh grabbed her, taking her into a side alley and threatened to stab her and her friends if she screamed.

Police said the brazen attack led them to search their files for similar attacks, enabling them to link Singh to the rape of a woman on some wasteland in 2008.

The victim's distressed 999 call to police lasted for almost an hour, but Singh claimed she had consented to sex.

Singh's 18-year-old victim spoke anonymously to the BBC to encourage other victims to come forward.

"You feel good in yourself because you know you've done something about it, you've got him off the streets," she said.

"I think of him as my victim because I've put him away."

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