By Joanna Beck
A man has been found guilty of raping a female student in September last year as she walked home from the nightclub Pryzm.
40-year-old Remus Hamza denied the charges and claimed that the sex was “consensual,” but it took a jury only 20 minutes to determine a guilty verdict at Newport Crown Court, as Hamza was sentenced to 12 years in prison. The victim, a 20-year-old woman, cannot be named for legal reasons. She was attacked by Hamza by the National Museum at around 2am on the morning of September 20th 2015.
During the trial the jury heard how Hamza had been arrested for exposure in this same area in 2014. The Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Inspector Ian Bourne, described Hamza as “a dangerous predatory offender who deliberately targeted a vulnerable young woman”.
The Sentencing Judge, David Wynn Morgan, reiterated this sentiment as reported by WalesOnline: “You were lurking in the Museum Avenue area behind City Hall in Cardiff.
“In light of your previous history there is only one conceivable explanation for you being there at that time. You were waiting there hoping that a lone inebriated female would make her way in your direction so you could take advantage of her.
“That’s exactly what you did when [the woman] staggered into your vision. You didn’t know who she was, you didn’t know anything about her and you didn’t know her name.
“All you cared about was having sexual intercourse and you chose her because she was extremely drunk and plainly had no idea what was going on.”
After the trial, Superintendent Andy Valentine, Head of Operational Policing in Cardiff, described Hamza’s guilty verdict as a reflection of the police’s “commitment to protecting women and young girls from violence, and to keeping our capital safe.”
This rape was one of three individual sex attacks which happened over a space of five days in Cardiff City Centre last September. The attacks received a large amount of media attention and led to measures being implemented to improve safety in Cardiff for female students after club nights.
This included the Students’ Union improving their ‘Safe Taxi Scheme’ which allows students to delay payment for their taxis using their student card if they do not have cash.
Taxis faced extra scrutiny during this time after reports that they would refuse to accept custom from young women due to short journeys not being financially beneficial. In response, young women were asked to report taxis behaving in such ways.
Security at the Students’ Union also attempted to increase student safety after the attacks, with many young women leaving the Union nightclub Y Plas being asked how they were getting home and bouncers asking other girls to accompany them.
Third year Geography student, Phoebe Crooks, explained how she, along with her flatmate, was asked to walk a young woman home after Flux. “The bouncers wouldn’t let her walk home alone so they asked where we were going and if we would mind taking her.
“If the bouncers’s hadn’t stopped her she would have walked home alone for sure and it was about three in the morning”.
It is not just the Students’ Union, however, that have been implementing safety measures at night. A third year JOMEC student who has recently started work at City Arms pub told Gair Rhydd how after her first night they would not let her walk home alone. “They told me I should get a taxi and said if they gave me a receipt they would refund me up to £5.”
Superintendent Valentine also stated that the police have taken extra measures since the attack. “South Wales Police takes all reports of sexual violence extremely seriously and, with the Police and Crime Commissioner, continue to work with partners to make tackling this type of crime a priority as part of our commitment to tackling violence against women and girls.”