Pawel Pazola, 51 of Regents Close, Crawley was jailed on Friday, 5 November, at Wood Green Crown Court for two counts of rape, one count of robbery, one count of impersonating a police officer and one count of possession of an imitation firearm which he had on him whilst committing the rape.
The judge ordered that following his release he must remain on licence for a further four years and he is been made subject to sex offenders notification requirement for life.
The judge also commended the team who investigated the offences.
Pazola was found guilty of all charges on Thursday, 2 September following a two-week trial.
The court heard how Pazola arranged sexual services with both victims using an online escort website. Both women were from Brazil but did not know each other prior to these offences.
Pazola met the first victim, who was aged in her 20s, on Friday, 7 August 2020 at an address in Camden. He forced her to engage in sexual acts that went beyond their agreement.
She was fearful of reporting the attack in case she was arrested but found the courage to speak with a support worker from Rehab UK the following day. She was supported by them to report the rape to police on Monday, 10 August.
She also reported what had happened to her on a WhatsApp group for other Brazilian sex workers working in the UK. Through this group she found out that a very similar incident had happened to another woman a fortnight later.
On Saturday, 22 August 2020 at 22:30hrs Pazola had met up with his second victim, another woman aged in her 20s, at a flat in Bayswater, Westminster. On this occasion, an agreement was made and again Pazola forced the victim to engage in sexual acts which she had not consented to.
The first victim encouraged her to report this assault to police, reassuring her that it would be taken seriously, and she did so on Thursday, 27 August 2020.
During both attacks Pazola claimed to be a police officer and threatened to arrest and deport the victims. He produced a fake police badge and an imitation firearm during the second attack. He took back the cash he had initially paid the victims and stole additional money from the second victim.
Detectives from Central North’s Serious Sexual Offences Team began an investigation and through phone work Pazola was identified and he was arrested on Sunday, 30 August 2020 at an address in Crawley. Upon his harrest, his home address and car were searched. An imitation police badge, a black replica handgun and £1,380 in cash were seized.
Pazola was charged the following day, Monday, 31 August 2020 and appeared at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court the following day where he was remanded in custody ahead of trial.
Both women were fully supported by specialist officers throughout the investigation and prosecution. Both victims returned to Brazil prior to the trial but were able to give evidence via video link to help secure the conviction.
Detective Sergeant Sam Lockstone, who led the investigation, said: “Pazola is a highly dangerous predator who sought to take advantage of the victims’ perceived vulnerabilities for his own gratification and monetary gain. I would like to praise the victims for showing such bravery and courage throughout this investigation and during the trial. I am especially pleased that our supportive response to the first victim encouraged the second victim to come forward.
“The Met’s response to sex work has not changed; our priority remains addressing vulnerability and exploitation linked to on-street, off-street and online sex work.
“Our approach is not to criminalise the sex workers involved but to safeguard and support them, and build mutual trust and confidence to encourage the sharing of information to improve safety. I hope that this sentence demonstrates the Met’s commitment to tackling crimes against sex workers, and violence against women and girls in whatever form it may take.”
A spokesperson from the charity Rehab UK, said: “The survivor faced multiple barriers in disclosing the crimes committed against her; fear of facing stigma and prejudice around whether she’d be believed, mistrust in figures of authority, a language barrier and concern surrounding her immigration status.
“Our role as an Independent Sexual Violence Advisor was to provide practical, confidential and compassionate support to help her overcome those barriers. She was able to find a way through difficulties and uncertainty, explore her options, and access opportunities to pursue criminal justice. Both women showed remarkable courage and resilience to report and follow the criminal justice process.”
If you have been a victim of sexual assault or rape, or you have information about an offender, contact police on 101 or 999 in an emergency – there are specially trained officers who will listen and investigate where needed.