Peterborough rapist who assaulted victim at knifepoint told to expect custody four years after being sectioned

Awais Rehman (20) raped one woman and sexually assaulted another on Rhubarb Bridge

By Stephen Briggs
Friday, 22nd July 2022, 5:10 pm
Updated Friday, 22nd July 2022, 5:17 pm

A Peterborough rapist has been told “custody is inevitable” five years after sexually assaulting two women on a city footpath.

Awais Rehman (20) attacked the two women on a footpath at Rhubarb Bridge in broad daylight in September and October 2017 when he was aged just 15.

In September he raped and sexually assaulted one woman, while in October he sexually assaulted and robbed another woman in two terrifying attacks that shocked the city.

Awais Rehman

Dozens of teenagers were given DNA tests by police as the net closed in on Rehman.

In 2018 a court case took place at Cambridge Crown Court, where a jury said he had committed the acts.

However Rehman – who at the time could not be identified due to his age – was deemed mentally unfit to stand trial, and was given a hospital order.

The jury were told they could not deliver a ‘guilty’ verdict following the trial of issue but could only say whether Rehman committed the acts.

An Efit of the suspect released by police during the appeal to find the culprit

However, four years later he has now been deemed fit enough to be sentenced at court, and will face justice for his actions. He can also now be named.

Today (22 July) he appeared in the dock at Cambridge Crown Court, where he pleaded guilty to one count or rape, two counts of sexual assault, one count of threatening someone with a knife and one count of robbery.

Wearing a white shirt and grey trousers, Rehman, of Watergall, Peterborough, sat head bowed in the dock during the short hearing. His family sat in the public gallery.

After entering the pleas, judge Mark Bishop adjourned the case for reports to be carried out by the probation service – but said ‘custody was inevitable.’

Police at the scene of the attack

Judge Bishop said: “You will be sentenced on September 2. I have ordered a Pre-Sentence Report from the probation service, and they will contact you in prison. Custody is inevitable in this case.”

Rehman’s hospital order was ended at the hearing and he was remanded into custody by the judge.

At the next court hearing, the judge will hear statements from Rehman’s two victims.

At the court hearing in 2018, the jury heard how a woman was walking along the path when she saw the teenager run up behind her and pull a large kitchen knife from his trousers.

The scene of the assaults

The woman screamed, but was told to be quiet by the defendant from Peterborough, who then forced her into some nearby bushes and raped her.

The woman managed to run away from him before reporting the incident to police.

DNA found on the rape victim’s shirt was later recovered and analysed, with forensic experts stating there was a “one in a billion” chance it did not belong to the defendant.

In October, another woman was walking along the same footpath when Rehman approached her from behind and slapped her bottom.

He then grabbed her by the arms and told her, “I’m going to take your bag”, before snatching her handbag and running off.

The handbag was recovered from some nearby bushes by officers and the victim’s purse, containing her bank cards and £20, were missing.

The incident lasted about 10 minutes.

Following the incidents, a huge appeal and police investigation was launched in a bid to find the culprit.

When he was eventually arrested, in police interview, the teenager claimed the sex with his first victim was consensual. He answered no comment to all other questions put to him.

DC Brown said what happened to both victims has been devastating and, despite showing incredible courage and strength throughout, they are still affected to this day.

She added: “The sexual assault victim feels what happened has completely changed her life; she never goes out alone, has regular panic attacks and feels like her ordeal has never ended.

“The rape victim continues to live in fear and has considered taking her own life due to the psychological impact of what happened.

“Many will remember she took part in 24 Hours in Police Custody and gave a first-hand account of the impact it had on her. I hope her story inspires others to contact us if they are victims of similar offences.

“When I called her to say we had charged someone for her case, she said it was one of the happiest days of her life; for me that really captures why we became officers - to make a positive difference when the public have been through truly horrendous experiences.

“We take all offences of rape and sexual assault extremely seriously and as highlighted in this case, will do all we can to bring offenders to justice.”

The case went on to feature in an episode of Channel 4’s 24 Hours in Police Custody.

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