September 2020

Guilty of raping teenager in Exeter

An Amazon delivery driver has been warned to face a long jail sentence after being found guilty of raping a teenager in an alleyway as she walked home from a Exeter night club.

Gheorghe Bertlef stalked the 18-year-old through the streets of Exeter before manhandling her into the alley off Hoopern Lane and demanding sex.

The victim said no when he asked her for a kiss and for sex and told him she wanted to go home but was too terrified to resist as he carried out the 30 minute attack.

He was found guilty after a jury at Exeter Crown Court rejected his claims that the woman had not only agreed to sex but had enjoyed it and thanked him afterwards.

Bertlef, who was working as a Royal Mail sorting office worker at the time, had spent weeks walking around Exeter in the middle of the night looking for lone women.

He approached a group of female Exeter University students just two hours before carrying out the rape on November 13 last year and his behaviour alarmed them so much that one took a picture of him on her phone.

He was arrested just over a week later when police spotted him stalking two more women who were walking on their own late at night.

Bertlef, aged 32, of Pinhoe Road, Exeter, denied rape and attempted rape of the same victim but was found guilty by unanimous verdict after two hours of deliberation.

He was remanded in custody by Judge Robert Linford, who ordered the probation service to carry out an assessment of the danger which he poses to the public.

He told him: “You have been convicted of these two offences and I will sentence you on October 23. I order there is a report to deal with the issue of dangerousness and whether you pose a danger to the public.

“Be under no illusion, you will be facing a very substantial sentence of imprisonment.”

During a three day trial, the prosecution said he was walking around Exeter before carrying out the attack on the victim, who was a total stranger.

She told him she did not want to kiss him or have sex but he took her down an alleyway and made her give him oral sex. He also tried to have vaginal sex unsuccessfully on two occasions.

She told the jury she was so frightened that she froze and went along with what he demanded but told him repeatedly that she wanted to be allowed home.

She said he did not restrain her physically but blocked her when she tried to get out of the alleyway.

Bertlef said he worked for the Royal Mail at the time but is now an Amazon delivery driver. He moved to Britain from Romania in 2016 and lives with his sister and her family in Exeter.