Bogus taxi driver jailed for Kirkcaldy rape

A teenager who lured a woman into a car after claiming to be a taxi driver before raping her with an accomplice was jailed today.

The victim was picked up in Hunter Street.
The victim was picked up in Hunter Street.

Abel Muntean (19) picked up the woman on New Year’s Day morning and abducted and raped her before driving her to a house where his co-accused Raul Novac also raped her.

Novac (34) was also jailed after he was convicted of the sex attack following a trial in which the pair had denied raping the woman who was intoxicated and incapable of giving consent.

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A judge told them at the High Court in Edinburgh: “You have both been convicted of appalling crimes involving the abduction and rape of a woman.”

Lord Uist said: “In your case Abel Muntean you have been convicted by the jury of rape committed by yourself and being an accessory to the rape committed by the second accused.”

“This kind of violence against women cannot be tolerated in any civilised society,” he told the pair.

Lord Uist told them: “Each of you should be in no doubt that in due course you will be sentenced to lengthy terms of imprisonment.”

Muntean, who was 17 at the time, pretended to the woman at Hunter Street, Kirkcaldy, on January 1 in 2017 that the car he had was a taxi and induced her to enter the vehicle.

He then took her in the car to the Esplanade and took off her dress and sexually assaulted and raped her.

Muntean then drove her to a house in the town’s Nelson Street where Novac also raped the woman. She was reported as a missing person.

The 20-year-old woman told the court that she had gone out for New Years Eve with others after drinking and was planning to go clubbing.

She said she was working earlier in the evening and consuming drink then and felt “quite tipsy”. She then went to a colleague’s home to get ready to go out and more alcohol was purchased.

The woman said that by the time they were ready to head out she was drunk. She had more vodkas at a club before she was asked to leave.

She said she told the bouncers that she needed to get her friends and let them know and added: “They wouldn’t let me back in. They wouldn’t get them either.”

She said she did not have credit on her phone and could not get in touch with anyone. She planned to get a taxi to take her to a relative’s home.

The woman said: “I can remember walking down the street a wee bit. I remember I was really drunk.” She borrowed another woman’s phone and tried to call for a cab.

“There was lots of taxis about. I thought one of them is bound to be able to take me.” she said. Those she approached were booked or waiting for someone.

She told the court: “Then I saw someone getting into a car that looked like a taxi. I opened the door and asked ‘could you take me home?’ He said ‘yes’.” She said it looked like there was a meter.

“I asked him if he was a taxi and he could take me home and he said ‘yes’,”, she said. She said he pulled out a bottle of Jack Daniel’s and asked her if she wanted a drink.

The woman said she took a drink and added: “I can’t remember anything after that.”

She said her next memory was waking up naked in a bed in a strange house. She said: “My body was in agony.”

Muntean, of Dornoch Place, Glenrothes, and Novac, who gone to Romania after he was freed on bail but was brought back to Scotland after he was later traced in Ireland, had denied the attacks but after they were found guilty sentence was deferred on them for the preparation of backgrounds reports and they were remanded in custody.

They were both placed on the sex offenders’ register.

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