21st May 2024
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Varsity post-graduate students in court for raping woman in nightclub’

Varsity post-graduate students in court for raping woman in nightclub’

Two university students were seen high-fiving after raping a drunk young woman in a nightclub maintenance room, a court has heard.

Ferdinando Orlando, 25, and Lorenzo Costanzo, 26, were caught laughing and making sexual gestures on CCTV, after leading her out of the room near the toilets, a jury was told. Just six minutes after meeting the 25-year-old in the Toy Room Club, in Soho, London, the pair can be seen on camera “passing her from one to another” before heading to the room, it was heard.

The young woman told the trial she later had to be treated for an injury between her legs, adding: ‘I was very swollen, I could barely walk and there was a lot of bruising. I was very scared.’ Post-graduate students, Orlando, of Pimlico, who is reading international law, and Costanzo, who is taking a masters in business and management, have both denied two counts of rape.

The pair insist the woman consented after swapping kisses with them on the dancefloor of the club under the London Palladium, in the early hours of February 26, 2017. Allison Hunter QC, prosecuting, told Isleworth Crown Court CCTV footage shows the three meetings, before they kiss.

Orlando then leads the woman to the maintenance room as she holds onto his waist, with Costanzo behind, steering her as she leans into him, the court heard.

The young woman said: “I was in the middle of them so it was hard to get away from them. They were the support for me walking.’ All three emerge sixteen minutes later, with the woman between the defendants.

“Orlando can be seen to re-arrange her dress, which was twisted and raised at the front, to cover her modesty,’ said the prosecutor. ‘The pair propel her towards the ladies’ toilet, where they open the door and put her inside and turn and run down the corridor.

“They ran straight up the stairs to the outside, where they can be seen hugging, high-fiving each other, strong-arming, laughing and looking at what appear to be images or videos on a mobile phone.

“They engage in gestures simulating sexual intercourse and oral intercourse and appear to laugh and congratulate each other.’ Ms Hunter said the young woman was not able to consent due to the amount of alcohol she had drunk.

“Her capacity to consent was a matter of supreme indifference and irrelevance to them in the pursuit of their own sexual gratification,” she added.

The alleged victim told the jury she has no memory of the incident, having begun drinking unlimited Prosecco at 11 am, plus free shots and vodka at the club, where she was celebrating a friend’s birthday.

She added: “I remember being very drunk and falling over a lot and then I was in the toilets of the club in so much pain, not wanting to get out and then I remember being on the street, sitting on the sidewalk.”

After a French couple helped her home to Ealing the woman was taken to hospital, where doctors also noted three bruises between her legs, bruising to her bum, shoulder and leg, plus a love bite on her neck.

When cross-examined she admitted the CCTV showed her grinding onto Costanzo on the dance floor and them “kissing passionately” but maintained she could not remember anything. Orlando claims they flirted and exchanged compliments, but the woman told the court she has no memory of their conversation and denied groping him between the legs.

Metro reported that in the maintenance room, Orlando claims the woman had consensual sex first with him and then Costanzo and the lawyer suggested the CCTV outside the room revealed her true feelings. Orlando’s QC Sarah Elliott, said: “You appear to be smiling. You gave them the impression you were having a good time.” The trial continues.

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