Brave student, 18, helped snare the rapist who attacked her by filming the entire assault on her mobile phone
- Lillian Constantine was attacked at 2am by Ashraf Miah, 34, in Ramsgate, Kent
- Miah attacked her beneath a street light, turned off by the council to save money
- Lillian was able to hit the record button as she was using mobile to light the way
- Miah, a Bangladeshi takeaway worker, was jailed for 13-and-a-half years
Student Lillian Constantine (above), 18, helped snare the man who tried to rape her after she managed to record the brutal assault on her mobile phone in Ramsgate, Kent
A teenager helped snare the man who tried to rape her after she managed to record the brutal assault on her mobile phone.
Student Lillian Constantine, 18, can be heard screaming and pleading with her attacker on the two-minute 47-second clip, recorded on her Samsung as she walked home in Ramsgate, Kent.
It is thought to be the first time ever that a victim’s own footage of an entire attack has helped put a rapist behind bars.
It was only because Lillian was using her phone to light the way that she was able to hit the record button.
Ashraf Miah, 34, attacked her beneath a street light that had been turned off by a council to save money.
Police were able to isolate a still from the grainy film, allowing Miah, a Bangladeshi takeaway worker, to be traced to an address in London.
The illegal immigrant was jailed last month for 13-and-a-half years and must serve a minimum of nine-and-a-half years.
In an amazing show of courage, the teenager has today waived her right to anonymity to tell other sex crime victims to come forward.
She said: ‘It can be hard to fight off a grown man, but if anyone in my situation can grab their phone and try to capture them, you may have more of a chance.
Ashraf Miah, 34, attacked Lillian beneath a street light that had been turned off by a council to save money. Police were able to isolate a still from the grainy film (left), allowing the Bangladeshi takeaway worker to be traced to an address in London. Miah (police mugshot, right) was jailed last month for 13-and-a-half years
‘I’m glad I did it. If I hadn’t, it would have been someone else in the end.’
Sentencing Miah at Canterbury Crown Court, Judge James O’Mahony said watching the ‘ruthless and determined’ assault on film would stay with him for a ‘very long time’.
He said: ‘In 13 years on the bench, I have seldom heard a more harrowing incident of the brave victim screaming in terror and pleading for it to stop and the awful suffering she endured.
‘If anyone needed a wake-up call as to just how horrific the offence of attempted rape is, then this was it.’
He added that he would be recommending Miah – who had been living illegally in Britain for ten years – for deportation at the end of his sentence, telling him ‘You are highly dangerous… you have no business being here.’
Lillian was attacked near her home in the seaside town. She was distraught when she learned 124 lights in the borough had been turned off from midnight to 5.30am to save Kent County Council £1million a year and cut carbon emissions.
Several other county councils have adopted the policy.
She said: ‘The road has a lot of street lights but they had been turned off. There was a light right above where it happened, but it wasn’t on.
‘If the lights had been on then I would have had loads of footage of him and it would have been easier for the police. It would have also been a deterrent in the first place. I am angry about it.
Lillian had been recording footage in bars as part of her media studies coursework. She had one glass of wine at about midnight and at 2am began to make her way home. Miah – who had already pestered one girl for sex that night – spotted her in the Enoteca bar (file image)
‘It was ridiculous they weren’t on just to save money.’
Lillian had been recording footage in bars as part of her media studies coursework. She had one glass of wine at about midnight and at 2am she and the friend she was working with began to make their way home.
Miah – who had already pestered one girl for sex that night – spotted her in the Enoteca bar.
Her family home was just a short walk away but as she made her way along a darkened seafront road, she saw Miah coming for her.
She said: ‘Out of the corner of my eye, I saw someone. As soon as he touched me on the shoulder, that’s when I started to record. Usually when I walk home I text people. It’s also a source of light.
‘He came up, asked me where I was going and I said I was going home.
‘And then he started to try to tackle me to the floor. It was like, arms round the shoulders, his leg trying to trip me up, anything he could to try and ground me.
‘I had no idea why at first. The first thing that came into my head was he was going to mug me. I was screaming the whole time, “I’m filming you, I’m filming you. I’m going to call the f***ing police, I’m filming you right now. You are not going to get away with this”.’
The noise woke residents and one slammed a door, which scared Miah off. Bruised and bleeding, Lillian managed to scramble the 30 seconds home.
Her mother, Karen – a local councillor and magistrate – woke to her daughter’s cries as she stumbled through the front door.
Mrs Constantine said: ‘I realised the seriousness. It was instant. The state she was in, I thought “This is a sexual assault”. My instinct was just to hold her.’
Two male officers were sent to the scene.
Lillian had to bag up her clothes and couldn’t wash for a day as she awaited for an appointment at the sexual assault referral centre at Maidstone Hospital, almost 50 miles away.
Staff took hair clippings, fingernail samples, a swab and logged every cut and bruise. A DNA sample was obtained but no match was found on the DNA database.
Later, Lillian had to have dozens of blood tests, a pregnancy test and HIV prevention medication that left her bedbound for a month.
The Constantine family, of Ramsgate (file image), now want a raft of measures to help boost rape conviction rates
But it was the harrowing footage shot on her smartphone that was to prove crucial.
Police managed to isolate a darkened still of a man’s features from the wobbling and dark film and door-to-door enquiries identified him as Miah, whose year-long work visa ran out a decade ago and had been doing cash-in-hand jobs ever since.
Miah would only admit to attempted rape and Lillian couldn’t face the uncertainty and cross-examination a full rape trial would bring.
The Constantine family now want a raft of measures to help boost rape conviction rates.
They say first responders should always be female when the victim is a woman and that rape-trained officers should be available at all times on a rota system.
More sexual assault referral centres should be available, regardless of whether a police complaint has been made, and a database should be created where victims can report attacks anonymously.
Most importantly, they say any cuts to women’s services should be halted.
Lillian, meanwhile, aims to get on with her life by heading to university in Manchester in September.
And in a plea to other victims, she added: ‘Don’t put limitations on yourself because it’s happened. It may be draining. It may linger, but it won’t define you.
‘I don’t need to feel ashamed and neither should anyone else.’
Kent County Council: ‘No overall increase in crime since part-night lighting was introduced’
A Kent County Council spokesman said the authority had been ‘appalled’ by the attack. He said the council was converting 120,000 street lights to LED which would be left on all the time.
He added: ‘We did not switch off any street lights in town centres, areas with CCTV, known anti-social behaviour areas, at busy junctions, roundabouts or sites with road safety issues.
‘We met with Kent Police on a regular basis and they indicated there was no overall increase in crime since the introduction of part-night lighting.’
Detective Superintendent Susie Harper, of Kent Police, said: ‘Although we work to prevent and reduce offences of rape, we also encourage its reporting.
‘Kent Police has worked closely with charities and other groups to increase awareness of what constitutes rape.
‘This has increased victims’ confidence in reporting offences including non-recent incidents and this is reflected in the figures in Kent and nationally.
‘The latest figures show that between April 2016 and March 2017, Kent Police conducted 1,581 rape investigations.
‘For cases prosecuted at court from 1 January to 31 March 2017, the conviction rate stood at 68 per cent.
‘Kent Police will take a victim’s views into account during an investigation and in many cases a victim might not wish to support a prosecution. Kent Police will still record the offence, but it might be that it does not reach a court process.
‘An Initial Response Officer who has specialist skills in dealing with victims of sexual assault will be sent to a report of rape in the first instance.
‘The investigation is then managed by a specialist investigation team and partners, such as rape prosecutors, victim support charities and the Sexual Assault Referral Centre.
‘Victims are able to self-refer to the Sexual Assault Referral Centre where evidence is retained in order to allow the victim to support a prosecution at a later date if they wish.
‘Officers will refer victims to an Independent Sexual Violence Advisor who looks after the victim’s needs, helps them understand how the criminal justice process works and supports them through a criminal trial.
‘Kent Police constantly monitors its performance to address any areas for improvement and to continue to provide the best possible service for rape victims