Gabriel Marinoaica, aged 20 and of Darlaston in the West Midlands, was convicted of rape and three counts of sexual assault following a five-day trial at Bournemouth Crown Court.

He will return to court to be sentenced on Friday 19 April 2024.

The charges related to an incident that occurred on the afternoon of Sunday 18 July 2021 in the sea near to the Oceanarium at Bournemouth.

The victim, who was 15 years old at the time, was playing with a ball with her friends in the water when it landed in front of the defendant. She went over and asked for it back, which led to the defendant engaging her in conversation.

He then pulled her deeper out into the sea until she could not touch the floor before he sexually assaulted her and then raped her.

The victim was only able to escape when a friend of his approached them, and she scrambled back to the beach and her own group of friends. She told them what had happened, and they helped her get away from the beach to safety. She was deeply shocked and upset by what he had done but was able to tell close family about what had happened. Police were informed and a full investigation was launched, led by detectives from the Major Crime Investigation Team (MCIT).

A DNA profile of the offender was obtained, and, following detailed and lengthy enquiries Marinoaica was arrested at his home address on Saturday 11 June 2022 and subsequently charged.

Detective Inspector Mark Jenkins, of MCIT, said: “We have carried out extensive and detailed enquiries to identify the culprit for this horrific sexual attack, and I want to praise the young victim in the case for the courage she has shown throughout the investigation and court process.

“I hope the bravery she has shown will encourage other victims of sexual offences to have the strength to come forward in the knowledge that they will be supported, and we will do everything we can to ensure offenders face justice.

“I want to thank all those involved in this complex investigation and the Crown Prosecution Service for its assistance in bringing the case to trial and securing the conviction of Gabriel Marinoaica.”

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