Man jailed for six and a half years for ‘brazen’ rape of 15-year-old girl in sea

A 20-year-old man has been jailed for six and a half years for the rape of a 15-year-old girl in a “brazen” attack on Bournemouth beach on a busy summer’s afternoon.

A jury found Gabriel Marinoaica, of Darlastan, Walsall, West Midlands, guilty of three charges of sexual assault and the rape of the teenager on Sunday July 18 2021.

He was acquitted of a further charge of sexual assault by biting her neck.

Judge Susan Evans KC told Bournemouth Crown Court that the attack undermined the public’s sense of safety on busy beaches.

She said: “Young people should be safe on a busy beach on a sunny afternoon, sadly that was not the case.”

She added: “It was a brazen attack in broad daylight with many people around.

“The beach should be a safe place where young people can go without fear of being raped or sexually assaulted.

“What you did does undermine public confidence in the safety of a public place like that.”

Judge Evans said that the defendant had behaved in a predatory manner and had used a form of “detention” by taking his victim, who could not swim, out of her depth into the sea.

She said: “There is some predatory behaviour, having picked out a group of young girls to target.”

Addressing Marinoaica, she said: “You pulled her out to see to the extent she couldn’t reach the bottom and notwithstanding that she told you she couldn’t swim, you took her further out to see.

“That was plainly frightening and you made her vulnerable.”

The judge said that Marinoaica ignored the victim’s pleas that she did not want to have sex and added: “You placed your hand over her mouth, you did it so she couldn’t scream or get help, you knew full well that she was not consenting.”

She added that the defendant afterwards asked for the complainant’s Snapchat contacts and added: “It may have been in your mind to make it look like something consensual which it never was.”

The court heard that Marinoaica was questioned by police earlier in 2021 about an unconnected allegation of rape but no further action was taken as the sex was found to have been consensual.

Judge Evans told him: “The police were involved and that interaction with the police doesn’t appear to have acted as a sufficient warning to you on how you should conduct yourself in sexual matters in the future.”

As well as the prison sentence to be served in a young offender institution, the judge made Marinoaica subject to a sexual harm prevention order for 20 years and ordered him to sign the sex offenders’ register for life.

In a victim impact statement read to the court, the complainant said that she continued to suffer panic attacks and nightmares.

She said: “I find it really hard to share how I have been left feeling after that attack on me, I have tried to put it behind me but it is never not with me, it will never not be part of my life experiences, my childhood.

“I have had to face and realise how my way of life has changed, I have been changed, it has left me overwhelmed.

“I used to have a huge love for the beach and the sea but I have lost it and I am left feeling uneasy.

“I feel so unsafe in the water now, going into the water makes me feel sick, I do not think I will ever be able to go in without someone with me as I am full of fear it will happen again.”

Ellie Fargin, prosecuting, told the trial that the victim had been in the sea with friends in the sea of the Dorset resort, when she started playing with a ball with another group in the water.

The court heard that the ball went near to the defendant but he initially refused to return it to the complainant.

He then pulled her by the arm out of her depth into the sea and groped her before raping her while putting his hand over her mouth, Ms Fargin said.

Marinoaica was arrested 11 months later and semen found in the complainant’s bikini matched his DNA, Ms Fargin said.