Two friends who kidnapped a schoolgirl, beat her with nunchucks and repeatedly raped her have been convicted.
She was taken from her home in the Suffolk town by Abdul Howe, 21, who she initially got to know over social media before meeting in London.
Howe first took her to a hostel in Ipswich, where she was assaulted with nunchucks and raped, before he forced her to travel back to his home address in Hammersmith, west London, where his friend, Ajani Williams, also 21, was waiting for them.
Over the course of two days, the pair repeatedly raped and assaulted the teenager.
They eventually allowed her to leave – but not before they forced her into making a voice note that said she had consented to sex.
The victim, then aged 17, attended Lewisham police station in September 2020 to report that she had been kidnapped and raped.
Although the victim knew the suspects’ street names, she did not know their real identities.
The Hammersmith address was identified by the victim but was empty when police arrived.
An image of a man who rented out the room was provided to officers and was quickly identified as Howe.
He was found at a linked address two days later where he was arrested and charged.
Forensic officers discovered a fingermark at the scene in Hammersmith which was later found to be a match to Williams.
The rapist went on the run after he was circulated as wanted but officers tracked him down to a hotel in Bayswater where he was arrested at the end of October in possession of cannabis with a street value of £7,500.
Searches of the hostel in Ipswich led to the nunchucks and a sword used to threaten the victim being recovered.
A fingerprint was later found on the sword sheath which identified it as having been used by Howe.
Blue latex gloves were also recovered, with DNA proving a forensic match to Howe and Williams.
Howe of Fortunegate Road, Brent, was found guilty of kidnap, rape, possession of an item with a blade or point, sexual assault by penetration, false imprisonment, actual bodily harm and perverting the course of justice following an eight-week trial at Isleworth Crown Court.
Williams, of Keslake Road, Brent, was convicted of false imprisonment, actual bodily harm, rape and perverting the course of justice. He also pleaded guilty to possession with intent to supply a class B drug.
The victim was given specialist support from an officer on the Metropolitan Police’s sexual offences investigation team who ensured the teenager got back into school where she could continue her studies.
Detective Constable Tony Larkin, of the Metropolitan Police, who led the investigation, said: “The offences committed by these men against a vulnerable teenage girl are abhorrent and her account is one of the most distressing I have ever heard.
“They are extremely dangerous individuals and our city will be safer now they are off our streets.
“The victim in this case has shown incredible bravery, from initially coming forward and reporting what had happened to providing the vital evidence which secured today’s verdicts.
“We hope this shows how seriously we take allegations of this nature and that we will provide support at every step of the way to ensure justice is served.”
Detective Chief Superintendent Owain Richards added: “County lines causes destruction within our communities and, as in this case, offenders often exploit and abuse vulnerable young people after gaining their trust.
“Our efforts to tackle this type of criminality and the supply of drugs are going on across our boroughs every day so that we can safeguard young people and remove those who cause such harm off the streets.
“I am immensely proud of all of the officers involved in this investigation and they were recognised for their efforts in our commendation event last year.”