A man has been sentenced to nine years in prison for raping a stranger, after it took a jury less than an hour to reach a unanimous guilty verdict against him.

Petru-Marian Bradu, 19, of Barton Street in Gloucester received the sentence at Gloucester Crown Court this afternoon following a trial which concluded on Thursday, October 8.

He received nine years for rape and two years for assault with both sentences being served consecutively and the condition that a minimum of two thirds of the sentence is served.

Bradu will also be added to the sex offenders register for life.

The conviction relates to an incident on July, 23 2019 where a lone woman was approached whilst walking along Widden Street in Gloucester.

A man, later found to be Bradu, punched her to the head causing her to lose consciousness and when she awoke he was raping her.

Specialist officers from the Rape and Serious Sexual Offences Team (RASSO) conducted enquiries after the woman reported what had happened and a full DNA profile of the offender was obtained however no matches came back following checks on police systems.

Bradu was arrested for a separate incident of assault in December and subsequently shown to be a DNA match to that obtained earlier in the year.

He was charged with assault the following day and pleaded guilty to that charge after appearing at court.

As a result of the DNA match, officers conducted further enquiries and Bradu was arrested in connection with the rape, interviewed and charged in February of this year but denied any involvement and went to trial.

The jury heard how Bradu tried to use excuses to plead his innocence such as referring to rape myths and stating "well she doesn’t look like she’s been raped" whilst speaking about CCTV footage of the victim after the attack.

The victim took part in the trial via video link which meant that she did not have to be in the presence of Bradu at court.

Investigating officer DC Steve Martin from the RASSO team said: "This was a particularly vicious incident where the victim was targeted by a stranger who she had never met before.

“She received support from the team at the Hope House Sexual Assault Referral Clinic (SARC) and I have no doubt that this support helped her to find the incredible strength to see this through.

"Stranger rapes are very rare in Gloucestershire however they can unfortunately happen and sadly but unsurprisingly the victim suffered considerably in terms of her mental health as a consequence of the incident.

"The victim has said that the fact that she was believed was incredibly important to her so now that justice has been achieved this will hopefully help her moving forward."

Ava Carpenter, Centre Manager at the NHS Foundation Trust's Sexual Assault Referral Centre said: "This is an outstanding result and a true reflection of Gloucestershire Constabulary’s determination and commitment into this case.

"Following this serious sexual assault, arrangements were made for the victim to attend the SARC. We were able to offer immediate practical and emotional support; as well as medical care and a forensic examination.

"I’d like to pay tribute to the victim who showed immense bravery and personal strength during her time at SARC, and throughout the police investigation and trial."

The SARC has a team of specially trained and dedicated Crisis Workers and Forensic Nurse Examiners who understand how difficult it can be to talk about what has happened if you are the victim of sexual assault.

Their service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and offers immediate emotional and practical support; as well as acute medical care and forensic examinations to anyone who has been a victim.

Victims are treated with dignity and respect; regardless of their gender identity, age, ethnicity, ability or sexuality. You can contact the SARC even if you have not reported an incident to Police. They will respect your wishes and always put your needs first.

The SARC encourage anyone who has been subjected to a similar offence, to not suffer in silence, and call them on 0300 421 8400.

Police would like to inform victims that making a complaint or going to trial doesn’t necessarily mean having to stand up in court to face your attacker.