Dagenham man sentenced to life for raping teenage girl in his wife's car

Taofiq Laguda police mugshot

Taofiq Laguda, from Dagenham, received a life sentence for rape - Credit: MPS

A serial sex offender who raped a teenage girl in the back of his wife's car has been jailed for life.

Taofiq Laguda, 46, of Trefgarne Road in Dagenham, must spend at least seven years behind bars, after he was sentenced during a virtual hearing at Woolwich Crown Court today (February 25).

If he is ever released from prison, he will remain on licence for the rest of his life under conditions to be determined at the time.

Handing down the life sentence, Judge Annabel Darlow QC described Laguda, who lives with his wife and step-children, as a "highly predatory man with an established pattern of serious sexual offences".

She said: "[The victim] made the mistake of believing you were someone who genuinely needed help and agreed to get into your car.

"She tried but was unable to get out of your car and you parked up in a secluded residential car park, close to a number of bushes and told her 'get in the back or I will kill you'.

"You pulled off her leggings ... she grabbed your penis to try to stop you but you ignored her. You took out your penis, pinned her down with your hands and you raped her."

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Serial rapist Laguda spotted his young victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, walking alone when he approached her at around 1.30am on January 24, 2020.

The 18-year-old girl had been waiting for a bus, before deciding to walk home after working until late at a restaurant in Peckham.

He pulled up beside her in his wife's car, having dropped her off at an airport earlier that evening, and asked for directions before offering her a ride to Deptford.

She agreed but Laguda then told the girl he was not going to stop where she wanted and, instead, drove her to a dark and secluded car park Crosslet Vale, Blackheath.

The victim tried to open the door and told Laguda it was locked, to which he replied “Oh, is it?” before telling her: “Get in the back or I’ll kill you”.

Laguda raped his victim and held her against her will for around 45 minutes, before driving off with her handbag, containing a phone and money, for which he received a concurrent two-year sentence for theft.

Judge Darlow QC added: "You remain willing, in the words of your probation officer [in a pre-sentencing report], to behave sexually how and when you like.

"In my view, you are dangerous and there is a serious risk of serious harm to the public which will be extremely hard to monitor in the future."

She also said she believed Laguda stole the victim's phone to make it harder for her to report him to the police. Her bag was never recovered.

She concluded: "It is an offence of such gravity, in my view, to determine the imposition of a life sentence."

A victim impact statement was read to the court, on behalf of Laguda's victim, which described how she had subsequently suffered "trust issues", resulting in the loss of her job and the breakdown of relationships with friends and family. 

Jeremy Rosenberg, Laguda's defence barrister, said: "Although she was a lone female at night, she was an adult, she was in a relatively well-lit area of the street and there were other people nearby at the other bus stop.

"She was not particularly vulnerable, she was a grown adult working in a night-time job at the time - in my submission, she wasn't particularly vulnerable."

Judge Darlow QC disagreed and referred to the victim as "particularly vulnerable" while handing down the life sentence.

Laguda's previous rap sheet of serious sexual offences, including the violent rape of a prostitute in March 2006, were taken into account when sentencing.

On that occasion, the defendant was kerb-crawling in his own car when he picked up a prostitute and drove her to a garage. There, he locked the doors, threatened her and slapped her across the face.

Tom Nicholson, prosecuting for the Crown Prosecution Service, told the court the attack took place after a disagreement over the payment for sexual services. 

Laguda pleaded guilty but was eventually convicted by a jury trial at Southwark Crown Court in January 2007.

It was his second sexual conviction, after he assaulted a woman in Deptford in April 2000 by grabbing her underneath her breasts in a "bear hug", before she was able to wrestle free and run away from him.

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