Man who raped girl, 15, in Bournemouth sea sentenced to six and a half years

<span>The judge said she was obliged to significantly reduce Marinoaica’s sentence as he was 18 at the time of the attack.</span><span>Photograph: Dorset Police/PA</span>
The judge said she was obliged to significantly reduce Marinoaica’s sentence as he was 18 at the time of the attack.Photograph: Dorset Police/PA

A man who raped a 15-year-old girl who could not swim after taking her out of her depth in the sea off Bournemouth beach has been sentenced to six and a half years’ detention.

Gabriel Marinoaica, who was 18 at the time, grabbed the girl as she played a game of catch with her friends and dragged her off the crowded beach into a water.

He placed his hand over the girl’s mouth to stop her from screaming during the attack until she broke free and managed to make it back to the shore.

In a victim impact statement, read out at Bournemouth crown court, the girl said she was “haunted in her nightmares” by what happened.

She said: “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 used to have a huge love for the beach and sea but I have lost it. I feel so unsafe in the water now. It fills me with fear. I often struggle to sleep and I see him in my nightmares.”

Marinoaica, now 20, claimed he and the girl had consensual sex but he was convicted of rape and three charges of sexual assault.

Judge Susan Evans KC said Marinoaica had shown “some predatory behaviour” and had used a form of “detention” by taking his victim out of her depth.

She said: “It was a brazen act in broad daylight with many people around. The beach should be a safe place and a place young people should go without fear of being raped or sexually assaulted and you have undermined public confidence in a public space like that.

“You have caused lifelong harm to her. She was particularly vulnerable, being 15 years old and unable to swim, and being taken out of her depth.”

The judge added that the fact Marinoaica was 18 years old at the time he committed the offence meant she was obliged to “significantly reduce” his sentence to “reflect his youth and immaturity”.

Marinoaica, from Walsall, West Midlands, was at the beach with his mother, father, younger brother and a friend in July 2021 when he carried out the attack.

Ellie Fargin, prosecuting, said: “The beach was very, very busy that day, one of the hottest days of the year. He grabbed hold of her arm and began to pull her out to sea. She could no longer reach the bottom, she really was in deep water. She told him: ‘No get off me’, but he ignored her.”

Sophie Murray, defending, said he was of previous good character. She said he was “overexuberant and overbearing, unable to control his sexual impulses” due to his immaturity.