Two Italian students who raped a woman in a Soho nightclub and then hugged and high-fived each other are preparing an appeal against their convictions, the Court of Appeal has heard.
Ferdinando Orlando, 25, and Lorenzo Costanzo, 26, raped their 23-year-old victim in the maintenance room of the Toy Room club on Argyll Street in central London on February 26 2017.
Officers discovered them re-enacting the attack on the club’s CCTV recordings, which also caught the two men watching back footage they had taken of the attack on a mobile phone.
The pair, who police said escaped justice for more than a year by returning to Italy, were eventually caught after Costanzo travelled to the UK to watch AC Milan play Arsenal in 2018.
Both were jailed for seven-and-a-half years in November having been found guilty of two counts of rape each following a trial at Isleworth Crown Court.
A bid to increase Orlando and Costanzo’s sentences was heard by the Court of Appeal on Thursday following an application by the Attorney General’s Office, which argued that they were unduly lenient.
But Lady Justice Thirlwall – sitting with Mr Justice Spencer and Sir David Foskett – dismissed the challenge.
Orlando and Costanzo, who were following proceedings via videolink from prison, both wept as the court’s decision was announced.
Costanzo’s barrister Sallie Bennett-Jenkins QC had earlier told the court that both her client and Orlando were preparing grounds of appeal against their convictions.
She said: “There are a numbers of separate grounds which are submitted make the convictions in this case unsafe.”
Sentencing the pair in November, Judge Giles Curtis-Raleigh said they had committed “very serious offences” against “an entirely innocent and vulnerable young woman”.
He said they had acted together and displayed “triumphalist behaviour”, with the attack having caused “very considerable psychological harm” to the victim.
In an impact statement, the victim said the rape had left her in “constant fear” and unable to relax or enjoy drinking with friends when she goes out.
She has no memory of the attack and only learned of its full details during the trial.
The victim said: “I truly struggle with how two humans could behave like such animals to another person and think of that as funny and like a badge of honour.”
Police said CCTV footage from the night of the attack showed the defendants each kissing and dancing with the victim, who was visibly drunk and unsteady on her feet.
Within eight minutes of first meeting her, they walked her to the maintenance room, where there were no cameras, and raped her.
Police and prosecutors argued the woman’s condition meant she was unable to consent to sex.
Orlando and Costanzo admitted filming the incident but claimed they had consensual sex with the victim.
About 16 minutes later, the pair re-emerged with their victim, but they abandoned her in the female toilets before running off.
She was found by club staff in severe pain and helped home by concerned strangers.
No date was given for any potential appeal to be heard.