9 December 2017

David Brown, Stephen McGrath, Bucharest, Adam Sage, Paris

Two convicted Romanian rapists entered Britain without any alert being raised and within weeks went on to brutally attack a woman in her home.

Ovidiu and Andrei Mamaliga, who are brothers, flew to London almost immediately after being freed from jail in France, where they had been convicted of raping a hitchhiker.

Despite promises by EU countries to share details of violent criminals, Border Agency officers and police had no record of their convictions and the men entered unchallenged. Soon afterwards they tied up a middle-aged medical professional in London and raped and robbed her.

Police believe the brothers may have attacked other women and appealed for victims to come forward as it was revealed that the Mamaligas were also suspected of controlling prostitutes in France. The case is likely to lead to demands for a review of the sharing of criminal records of violent offenders across Europe, which was meant to start in 2012. Detective Inspector Neil John of Scotland Yard’s child abuse and sexual offences command, said yesterday: “I cannot understand how, in 2017, we do not know when two dangerous men have come to the UK.”

The rape occurred four miles from where Alice Gross, 14, was killed in 2014 by Arnis Zalkalns, a Latvian who had moved to Britain after serving a jail sentence for murdering his wife.

There was an outcry when it was revealed the British authorities had no knowledge of Zalkalns’ conviction.

Ovidiu, 30, and Andrei, 28, had been convicted in 2011 for raping a 26-year-old hitchhiker near Rouen, Normandy.

The brothers were jailed for 14 years for rape and theft but the sentences were reduced to ten years. Ovidiu was released last year and arrived in the UK not long after. He then left and flew back into Luton airport on March 14. His brother, who was released later, arrived at the same airport on April 7.

On May 10 they spoke to a woman outside her home in North Acton, west London. Hours later they returned, followed her into her home, ripped off her clothes and used shoelaces to bind her hands and feet before raping her. The woman, aged in her late 40s, feared she was going to die as she was suffocated. She is so traumatised that she can no longer live in her “dream” home and has been unable to return to work.

Police found the brothers’ DNA but there was no record on the UK database and there was a delay in the European authorities confirming that it matched the Mamaliga brothers. The court was told that there were also difficulties obtaining details of their criminal record from the French authorities.

The brothers were found the month after in Harlesden, northwest London, having been “couch surfing” at the home of friends.

Probation officers concluded they posed a “significant risk” of committing further sexual offences and a “high risk of committing serious harm” to women.

The brothers claimed they grew up in “difficult family circumstances” in the city of Drobeta-Turnu Severin, which borders Serbia. Their mother separated from their alcoholic father when they were young and they were abused by an uncle, the court was told. They were each jailed for 12 years for rape, and will serve at least two thirds of the sentence in jail rather than the normal half, and three years for stealing rings left to their victim by her late mother. They will be on the sex offenders register for life.

Céline Parisot, of the French Magistrates’ Union, said that after being released most rapists were monitored by probation officers for two years. “In this case, it looks clear that these people did not respect their obligations since they travelled to the UK,” she said.

Several recent cases have highlighted the lack of monitoring of Romanians convicted in their homeland.

Cezar Florea, 29, was jailed for 16 years in September for the attempted rape of a woman in Middlesbrough. He had a string of convictions in Romania, including sexual activity with a child.

Florin Moraru, 25, was jailed in April for raping a woman in Kettering, Northamptonshire, 11 days after arriving in Britain having been released from prison in Romania after being jailed for a violent attack on a woman.

Cristian-Adrian Lascu, 43, was jailed for 13 years in August last year for raping a 42-year-old woman in Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire. He had been sentenced to 32 years in jail in Romania for offences including a vicious attack on a 15-year-old girl.