A rapist who targeted two women on a Peterborough footpath five years ago has been jailed for more than six years.

Awais Rehman, now 20, and legally allowed to be named for the first time, raped a woman on the morning of September 30, 2017, before then sexually assaulting and robbing another woman at just after 1pm on October 6.

The crimes took place on Bretton Way cycle path, near to Rhubarb Bridge in Peterborough – and the investigation later featured on the Channel 4 series 24 Hours in Police Custody.

He was ruled not fit to stand trial in November 2018 but was tried in his absence at Cambridge Crown Court where jurors ruled he did commit the rape and sexual assault.

However Rehman, who was 17 when he was sentenced to an indefinite hospital order in May 2019, was deemed fit to plead late last year.

He appeared at Cambridge Crown Court on July 22, where he pleaded guilty to rape, threatening a person with a blade, robbery and two counts of sexual assault.

On October 25, at the same court, he was sentenced to a total of six years and two months in prison, with a further eight years on licence.

He was made the subject of a sexual harm prevention order (SHPO) and a restraining order preventing him from contacting his victims – both to run indefinitely.

Sentencing, Judge Mark Bishop considered the significant degree of planning that Rehman had undertaken to carry out the sexual assaults – including the fact he was loitering in the area and had armed himself with a knife.

He also took into account the psychological impact on both victims involved in the case.

DC Denise Brown, who investigated, together with Superintendent Adam Gallop and Detective Inspector Gordon Blair, said: “This is a case I will personally never forget and highlights our sheer determination to bring offenders like Rehman to justice.

“It took us nine months to track him down; we issued media appeals and an e-fit image but it was good old fashioned police work that led us to him in the end after we knocked on his door and took his DNA, which linked him forensically to these horrific sex offences.”

In a statement read out in court today, the rape victim said: “Although five years have passed since this incident, I still remember it as if it happened a week ago.

“I lived through this incident, yes. I survived it, I carried on with my life and I live well, but at the same time, I have mixed emotions, because nothing can be scarier than that incident, than being raped at knife point."

More information on rape and sexual offences can be found on the force’s dedicated web page.