A bakery worker who pretended to be a taxi driver before 'abducting' and raping a drunk woman he found on the street has been refused permission to appeal against his conviction.

Ernesto Lusadisu, then 35, was jailed for 12 years in December 2021 after he was found guilty of rape and sexual assault following a trial at Manchester Crown Court the previous month.

His sentencing hearing was told he came to the UK from Angola as a teenager in 'tragic' circumstances and was out driving his car in the early hours on a Saturday morning when he spotted his victim, a woman in her 20s.

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She was slumped on a step on the pavement after a night out in the Northern Quarter, her phone had lost charge and she'd lost her friends.

The court heard Lusadisu parked his car on a back street and offered her a lift. She was unable to walk without help, and at one point Lusadisu appeared to have her in a 'headlock' as he forced her into his car.

Ernesto Lusadisu pictured outside Manchester Crown Court in November 2021

The judge, Recorder Kate Blackwell QC, said this was 'clear evidence' she believed that Lusadisu was a taxi driver. Once inside, he refused to take her home, and instead brought her to his flat and locked the door, it was said.

Traces of cocaine were later found in her system, but it was unclear whether it was taken 'willingly' or if it had been 'administered by another' the court heard. Prosecutors said the victim rarely drank and feared she'd been spiked, because she is 'frightened' of drugs and had never knowingly used any before.

In the bedroom of his flat, Lusadisu was found to have sexually assaulted then raped his terrified victim, even as she told him to stop. In a bid to buy some time, she asked Lusadisu to get a condom, the court was told.

When he went to his car to get one, she ran out of the flat and got in the lift. However to her 'horror', Lusadisu appeared as the doors opened and tried to 'drag' her back into the lift.

The Court of Appeal at the Royal Courts of Justice

She fought him off and banged on the door of a neighbour who helped her. The judge was told she remains traumatised by her ordeal and rarely goes out.

At his sentencing, the barrister representing Lusadisu, then of Sawley Road, Miles Platting, said he continued to deny the offences. At the criminal division of the Court of Appeal in London today (Thursday, November 23, 2023), Lusadisu sought leave to appeal against his conviction.

Following the hearing, a court official confirmed that he argued consent and that the grounds for his appeal were that:

  • There was forensic evidence that was not adduced at trial. Further, there was no forensic evidence to show that penile penetration had taken place.
  • He did not receive a fair trial – he did not have an interpreter and did not fully understand the charges that had been made against him.
  • The complainant provided a further witness statement in which she gave a different account of events. The Judge knew about this statement but it was not adduced during the trial.
  • Evidence that the complainant had cocaine in her system was not adduced during the trial and the toxicologist was not cross-examined so that the findings could be properly explained to the jury
  • Defence counsel erred in failing to obtain an independent report which would have countered the assertions made by the prosecution experts.

The official said Lusadisu was not legally represented and spoke briefly himself via an interpreter in support of his application. He confirmed the application, which was heard by panel of three senior judges - Lord Justice Bean, Mr Justice Murray and His Honour Judge Dennis Watson KC - was refused.

Following Lusadisu's sentence, Detective Sergeant Kirsty Wroe, from Greater Manchester Police's Trafford CID, said: "The victim trusted this man to safely drive her home. Instead, he lied and took advantage of her by abusing her in one of the worst ways possible. It is only right that he remains behind bars for 12 years.

"I would also like to thank the victim for her cooperation through what must have been an incredibly gruelling and tough investigation. While she may never be able to fully move on from this awful incident, I hope that today's sentence will bring some form of closure to an incredibly tough period in her life."

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