'Predatory' thug targeted and tried to rape homeless woman after night out in Weston-super-Mare

"Dangerous" Florin Griu was jailed at Bristol Crown Court for sexual attempt and attempted rape of a homeless woman in Weston-super-Mare
-Credit: (Image: Avon and Somerset Police)

A homeless woman fought off a drunk man who tried to rape her on a night out in Weston-super-Mare. Florin Griu consumed numerous alcoholic drinks as he visited various bars and clubs in the seaside town late on April 20 and April 21 last year.

Griu came across the woman who was sleeping rough at a High Street shop entrance where he climbed underneath her blanket and groped her genitals before 3am. As Griu removed her trousers and attempted to rape her, his victim cried out for help and pushed him away.

The Romanian national lingered around the scene but then fled minutes later. Griu denied two charges of attempted rape and sexual assault but was unanimously found guilty by a jury at Bristol Crown Court on April 4.

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At his sentencing on Friday morning (May 31), prosecutor Sam Jones recounted the CCTV trail that followed Griu’s movements from his Orchard Street home to various bars and clubs in the town centre. He added Griu was around a bin store as he looked for a potential victim or for it to be a secure place for sex.

In a personal statement, the victim said she was known to police officers and street wardens having been rough sleeping on and off for six years and had “always felt safe being homeless in town”. Following the attack, she started drinking heavily to “blackout” what happened to her.

She said: “I would describe myself as a bubbly person and like to think that I get on with most people. After this incident, I became totally withdrawn. I felt embarrassed that this had happened to me.

“I see his face everywhere I go and look at men, thinking it is him. I wake up in the night crying having dreamed about it. I try to black out thinking about this man and what he did to me that night. I never want to be near him again.

“I hope he is punished for what he has done to me. If it happened to me right in front of a camera, it could happen to anyone else.”

Mr Jones observed the woman was “particularly vulnerable due to her circumstances” and believed she was targeted by Griu. Mr Jones added: “The incident was sustained but only to an extent. The defendant was under the blanket with the victim for 15 minutes for what she describes as a relatively short attack on her.”

Griu committed the attempted rape and sexual assault while he was released on police bail in connection with a separate allegation of rape. This investigation concluded with no further action taken.

"Dangerous" Florin Griu was jailed at Bristol Crown Court for sexual attempt and attempted rape of a homeless woman in Weston-super-Mare
"Dangerous" Florin Griu was jailed at Bristol Crown Court for sexual attempt and attempted rape of a homeless woman in Weston-super-Mare -Credit:Avon and Somerset Police

Griu, aged 30 and of Orchard Street in Weston-super-Mare, continued to deny the offences of attempted rape and sexual assault at his sentencing. Defending, David Scutt, told the court: “He continues to deny everything and wishes I say that. My evaluation of his position is that he just doesn’t seem to understand why he’s in this position. It is very clear based on the pre-sentence report, there is no remorse.”

Mr Scutt added Griu had struggled with life in prison with his limited English and worries about how he will cope. He added: “When I saw him this morning, I was struck by his appearance. He tells me he hasn’t eaten in the last two weeks and my assessment of him is that he looks and sounds unwell. Essentially he stays in his cell.”

The recorder Mr James Bromige described Griu as “dangerous” and was struck with his “predatory” behaviour of targeting vulnerable women.

He told Griu: “Despite being homeless, she was previously living a stable life as best as she could. She was volunteering, she was working on her mental health in a view of getting visitation rights for her children.

“Your targeting of this vulnerable homeless woman made her turn to alcohol. Her mental health relapsed and she has had to leave the Weston-super-Mare area. I fully accept as she said that because of you, she has lost a year of her life.”

Griu was jailed for 10 years and will serve three years on licence when released. He will likely be deported following release from prison.