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Slovakian jailed for raping teenager branded 'monster' by victim's family

Published 20/10/2015

Zdenko Turtak received a 20-year extended sentence
Zdenko Turtak received a 20-year extended sentence

A Slovakian man who destroyed the life of an 18-year-old woman he raped and battered with a stone has been branded a "monster" by the victim's family.

Zdenko Turtak, 22, was jailed for 14 years at Leeds Crown Court today for the "ferocious" attack on the young woman who he dragged from a bus stop in Leeds.

Turtak, who may have been high on a glue-like substance, fled to Slovakia as a huge search was launched by West Yorkshire Police but was extradited back to the UK after a DNA match was found in his home country.

The woman's family gathered in the public gallery of the court to watch Turtak's sentencing after he admitted rape and grievous bodily harm with intent.

After the Recorder of Leeds, Judge Peter Collier QC, handed Turtak a 20-year extended sentence, to include the custodial period of 14 years and an extension period of six, family members shouted "monster" and "rapist" as he was led from the dock.

Judge Collier said the eight-minute attack would affect the victim, who was from a strict Muslim background, for the rest of her life, including her prospects of marriage.

He said: " In those short eight minutes you destroyed her young life.

"All her youthful hopes and dreams ebbed away in those few minutes."

The attack took place in March as the victim waited for a bus in the Beeston area of Leeds.

Judge Collier said Turtak seized the woman, who was just 5ft, slim and wearing traditional Muslim dress, and overwhelmed her "by sheer brute force", bundling her into a garden hidden from the road by a hedge.

He then beat her 18 times about her head with "ferocious blows" with a stone, which he had in his pocket, and raped her in an attack which was caught by a CCTV camera.

The judge said the victim had "no chance" of resisting Turtak, who he described as "dangerous".

After the attack, the woman, who suffered severe head injuries, collapsed on a path, where she was found covered in blood by passers-by.

Turtak was caught on CCTV approaching other women in Leeds in the hours leading up to the attack and police believe he may have been high on a substance called toluene - a chemical found in glue and paint thinners which is commonly used by some Roma youths in Slovakia who often carry it with them on a rag.

The woman had told officers of a distinctive smell that she had been unable to get out of her nose and mouth after the attack and she had an "emotional reaction" when police brought her a sample of toluene to smell.

Turtak, from Velka Ida, in the Kosice region of Slovakia, was eventually tracked down after a DNA search in Slovakia found a match from when he was arrested years before for a burglary.

The international inquiry to find him after no UK DNA matches were made involved more than 100 officers and was the biggest conducted by West Yorkshire Police since the disappearance of Shannon Matthews in 2008.

Turtak had lived in Leeds, on-and-off, for about four years - travelling home to Slovakia on the regular Bratislava to Bradford direct bus service - but had left almost no trace of himself in the UK.

His almost complete invisibility meant the search for him was one of West Yorkshire Police's most challenging investigations and detectives said it was "frustrating" there was no Europe-wide DNA database.

Judge Collier told Turtak he would serve at least two-thirds of his jail sentence before being eligible for release.

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