A student from New Delhi, identified as 20-year-old Preet Vikal, has been charged for alleged rape of a drunk young woman. Preet took a ‘trophy photograph’ of the victim in his bed before attacking her, the Daily Mail reported.
Preet, an engineering student, carried the girl back to his room – at points on his shoulders – after he encountered her ‘hopelessly intoxicated’ outside a music venue in the Welsh capital city Cardiff.
Prosecutor Matthew Cobbe said Preet and the victim did not know each other and were partying on the night of June 3 last year with separate groups of friends. “The victim had drunk to excess and by the end of the night was, plainly, hopelessly intoxicated. The victim’s recollection of the night is vague but she knew she and her friends had started drinking at home before going to a bar on Mill Lane, then to Live Lounge. She could recall snippets of her time at Live Lounge but could not remember leaving,” Cobbe said.
The victim left Live Lounge with friends. However, outside she encountered Preet, an engineering student who had been drinking in the venue. The prosecution said that Preet joined the victim’s group as they walked along North Road. He and the victim then moved far ahead of the rest of the group. The CCTV footage, which was played in court, showed Preet carrying the victim in his arms and later across his shoulders at around 4 am.
Preet brought the victim to his room at Talybont and took what the prosecutor described as a ‘trophy photograph’ of her on his bed. Although the victim was not naked, the picture was revealing. The victim had no recollection of the rape but she remembered waking naked next to Preet in his bed.
“The victim asked for the defendant’s Instagram address and once she left, she messaged him asking him if they had had sex, and if so, whether they had used protection. The answer she had was that yes, they had, but they had not used protection,” Cobbe said.
The court heard that Preet sent the picture to a friend later that day and said in the chat that he had ‘forgotten’ to use a condom. That same day the victim reported Preet to police and he was arrested.
Preet’s lawyer Louise said her client was “a real shining star”. She said, “Coming from a village north of Delhi, he is a young man who worked extremely hard, so much so he won a scholarship to support his study in engineering. He was the first of his family to go to university, the first of his village to go overseas and study. He was fulfilling his dreams to come here and those of his parents.”
Sweet said Vikal was “not a very experienced young man” and that he “hadn’t had a real girlfriend at all”. She added that he had gone out drinking after his last exam and the ‘relief’ led him to drink more than usual.
In a letter from Preet, she read: “I write this letter to express my deepest apology for the pain and suffering I have caused. I understand my actions were wrong and may have a significant impact on her life. In the last six months I have reflected deeply on my actions… Words can’t undo the damage I have done but I hope my apology can be the first step towards healing and forgiveness.”
Judge Tracey Lloyd-Clarke acknowledged Preet Vikal’s remorse and that his behaviour was out of character but said his use of alcohol that night was an aggravating factor, rather than one that would reduce his sentence.
She sent Preet to a young offenders institution for six years and nine months. He will serve two thirds of the sentence in custody and the remainder on licence.