Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Men convicted of Kirkcaldy bogus taxi rape

Raul Novac and Abel Muntean Image copyright Police Scotland
Image caption Raul Novac and Abel Muntean were told they faced lengthy sentences

Two men have been found guilty of raping a teenager after New Year celebrations in Fife.

The 18-year-old had left a nightclub in Kirkcaldy in the early hours of 1 January 2017 when she got into a vehicle she thought was a taxi.

The driver, Abel Muntean, who was 17, abducted her and took her to the home of Raul Novac, 34, where she was raped by both men.

The men were told they face jail when they are sentenced in July.

They will be also be put on the sex offenders register.

'Appalling crimes'

Judge Lord Uist at the High Court in Edinburgh, told them: "You have both been convicted of appalling crimes involving the abduction and rape of a woman."

"In your case Abel Muntean you have been convicted by the jury of rape committed by yourself and being an accessory to the rape committed by the second accused."

"This kind of violence against women cannot be tolerated in any civilised society.

"Each of you should be in no doubt that in due course you will be sentenced to lengthy terms of imprisonment."

The court heard that the woman was intoxicated at the time and incapable of giving consent.

Muntean had pretended that the car he was in was a taxi and persuaded her to get into it.

He then took her to the Esplanade at Kirkcaldy, took off her dress and sexually assaulted and raped her.

He then drove her to a house in the town's Nelson Street where Novac also raped the woman.

'I was really drunk'

The woman, who is now 20, told the court she had been drunk and planned to get a taxi to take her to a relative's home.

"I can remember walking down the street a wee bit. I remember I was really drunk," she said.

Image caption The men were convicted following a trial at the High Court in Edinburgh

She said she saw someone getting into a car that looked like a taxi.

"I opened the door and asked 'could you take me home?' He said 'yes'." She said it looked like there was a meter in the car.

She said the driver pulled out a bottle of Jack Daniel's and gave her a drink.

She said she could not remember anything after that and said her next memory was waking up naked in a bed in a strange house. She said: "My body was in agony."

'Brutal attack'

Muntean, from Glenrothes, and Novac, who is from Romania, had denied the attacks.

Novac returned to Romania after he was freed on bail but was brought back to Scotland after being traced in Ireland.

Sentence was deferred for the preparation of backgrounds reports and the men were remanded in custody.

Det Sgt Calum Lawrie said: "These two men preyed on a young, vulnerable woman who was simply looking to get home after celebrating the New Year.

"I commend her bravery in coming forward to report these assaults and her strength in going through these traumatic events again when the pair denied what they had done. I hope she can find some comfort in their convictions.

"Muntean knowingly pretended to be a taxi driver and along with Novac carried out a calculated and brutal attack, and they will receive custodial sentences as a result."

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