U.S. Markets open in 5 hrs 17 mins

Woman brutally raped in London nightclub brands men who filmed attack and high-fived each other ‘animals’

Lizzie Dearden
Ferdinando Orlando and Lorenzo Costanzo were convicted of rape: Metropolitan Police

A woman who was brutally raped by two men in a London nightclub, leaving her needing surgery, has branded her attackers “animals”.

Ferdinando Orlando, 25, and Lorenzo Costanzo, 26, preyed on the younger woman when she was alone, intoxicated and struggling to stand.

They took her to a maintenance room where they both raped her, then dumped her in a toilet and ran off high-fiving and hugging each other.

The pair had filmed the attack, and watched it back on a mobile phone before showing it to a friend, with a “brazenness” that shocked police officers.

Constanzo and Orlando were then caught on CCTV re-enacting the attack, showing how they had both violated the woman.

The victim had no recollection of the attack but remembers feeling “incredible pain” and needed surgery for the injuries Orlando and Constanzo inflicted.

The 23-year-old said she felt sick when she discovered how her rapists had celebrated the attack “like they were proud of what they had just done”.

“I truly struggle with how two humans could behave like such animals to another person and think of that as funny and like a badge of honour,” she added. “I have no control over who they have shown the footage or images to.”

Orlando and Constanzo, who are both Italian and met on a language course in London, told the court the rape had been consensual sex.

But a jury convicted them after hearing evidence of the victim’s intoxicated state and injuries, and watching CCTV that shows the attackers part-carrying her into and out of the maintenance room.

They were each jailed for seven-and-a-half years.

The victim has been left afraid of going out with her friends because she fears another attack.

“I am now conscious of what I wear when I do go out and even who I am going out with. I am just in constant fear,” she said.

“I no longer dress to look pretty when I go out incase I attract the wrong attention. I can no longer relax and enjoy a glass of wine out with friends for fear that if I just have that one drink too much, I am so vulnerable.”

The victim praised the jury for “seeing through” the men’s defence case.

“No person should feel like they are not safe when they are just out having fun with friends,” she said.

Ferdinando Orlando and Lorenzo Costanzo were convicted of rape (Metropolitan Police)

“I pray that any other victims of such violent crimes now feel more confident to come forward.

“I have continued with this legal process and tried to stay strong because I believe such horrific assaults on women need to stop.”

The pair escaped justice for over a year after the attack – on 25 February 2017 – by returning to Italy, with Costanzo eventually arrested when he returned to the UK to watch a football match in London.

Orlando later contacted police and flew back by appointment, where he was arrested.

He did not have a phone when he arrived, while Constanzo had a new handset, and police could not recover the video of the rape.

Both men had girlfriends at the time of the attack, and both women gave evidence to Isleworth Crown Court.

They were both supported by their families during the trial, where relatives paid the court £40,000 in cash for each man as a surety to have them released on bail.

They were each convicted of two counts of rape and, as the jury gave their verdicts, Costanzo collapsed in court. He had to have the verdict delivered to him in hospital.

Detective sergeant Rebecca Woodsford, who led the investigation, said that the victim had been “like a ragdoll” when they surrounded her on the dancefloor and did not have the capacity to consent.

“The CCTV crucially showed she was stumbling, falling, finding it difficult to stand,” she told The Independent.

“I don’t know if we will ever know what went on in their minds. Did they do it because they thought they could get away with it, or that she was so drunk she couldn’t remember?”

“It’s one of those things we may never answer.”

Read more

Men raped woman in nightclub then ran off high-fiving each other