A man from Surrey who raped two women he met after targeting them on the dating site Tinder has been jailed for 12 years.
Prince Darkwa, 26, of Yeomans Lane, Blackwater, Camberley, was found guilty of two counts of rape against two different women at Guildford Crown Court on 17 May following an eight-day trial. He was found not guilty of a third charge of rape against a third woman.
The court heard how Darkwa met both women on online dating apps in October 2021.
He was arrested on 6 October 2021 when one of the victims came forward to report that Darkwa had raped her at her home after they had met on Tinder. Within minutes of meeting up with Darkwa, the victim expressed concerns about his behaviour in a number of text messages to one of her friends.
Darkwa was interviewed and released from custody the next day.
On 5 November 2021 police received another report of rape in which the second victim alleged that she'd been out for dinner with Darkwa on 18 October 2021. The court heard he insisted on accompanying her home where they both began drinking.
The victim said that the next thing she remembered was waking up with Darkwa smiling at her and stroking her face. She was bleeding and was in a lot of pain.
The victim said she had initially been reluctant to come forward because she had been unconscious when Darkwa forced himself on her and so had doubted her own belief of what had happened.
Detective Constable Alastair Bagshaw from the Sexual Offences Investigation Team (SOIT), who investigated the offences, said: “Darkwa is a sexual predator who deliberately targeted women on dating sites with the sole purpose of meeting up with them for sex.
"Whether or not they consented to this was irrelevant to him.
"The prison sentence he has received today will ensure that he will be behind bars and will not be able to do this to anyone else. I hope that this will also give him time to reflect on his attitude towards women and his perceived entitlement when it comes to sexual activity.
“Both women expressed reservations about coming forward and reporting this to police but they must be commended for having the courage and strength to speak out and ensure that Darkwa was brought to justice for his vile and predatory behaviour.
“I would also like to thank the team of officers who worked on this case – it was a fast-moving and intensive investigation but our determination has paid off by the fact that Darkwa has now been brought to justice for his offending.
"I would encourage anyone who has been subjected to a sexual offence to report it to the police – it will be taken seriously, it will be investigated thoroughly and every possible effort will be made to bring the offender to justice where possible.”
Detective Inspector Mark Butterworth from the SOIT, who oversaw the investigation, said: “I would like to pay tribute to both victims and the witnesses involved in this case who were brave enough to come forward and give evidence, which meant re-living the ordeal they had endured as a result of the Darkwa’s actions.
“Darkwa used the internet to meet his victims before he raped them. They were alone and when they first reported the incidents to us, the defendant’s identity was not known to them. The team worked quickly to identify the suspect and link the cases together. We then worked in conjunction with the CPS to ensure that he was remanded in custody to protect the public from further offences while the investigation was progressed.
“I would also like to thank all those involved in the investigation for their hard work and dedication. Bringing together such a complex case within six months is a huge achievement, and without this co-ordinated teamwork, this would not have been possible.
“I hope that Darkwa’s conviction sends a clear message that we will always do everything we can to ensure allegations of rape are investigated thoroughly and that we will leave no stone unturned to get to the truth and bring offenders to justice, as well as demonstrating to potential offenders that the internet does not provide you with an opportunity to evade detection and ultimately imprisonment.”
Sally Lakin from the Crown Prosecution Service said: “This is a truly appalling case, where the defendant demonstrated a horrifying pattern of entitlement. Darkwa is a sexual predator, who manipulated the situation to intimidate and control his victims in order to rape them.
"It wasn’t that Darkwa didn’t know his victims weren’t consenting, to the contrary, he was left in no doubt that the sex was not consensual, even asking one of his victims if he would get a visit from the police. He simply did not care.
“I commend the bravery of the victims in reporting and supporting the prosecution’s case which meant Darkwa was found guilty and sentenced today for his abhorrent crimes. I hope they can take some comfort from today’s sentencing.
“I want to encourage victims to please report these crimes; you will be taken seriously and where our legal test is met, we won’t hesitate to prosecute.
Darkwa was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment (to run concurrently) for the offence committed on 5th October 2021. He was sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment with an extended license period of four years under the Dangerous Offender Provisions for the offence committed on 18th October 2021.
It means he will have to satisfy a parole board before being eligible for release.
Darkwa was also handed a Sexual Harm Prevention Order and a Restraining Order against both victims for an indefinite period and will have to sign the Sex Offender’s Register for life.