A man who raped a young woman he met in a Bristol bar has been jailed for nine years.
Fernando Cervi-Alvarez, of Argyle Road, Bristol, had denied rape claiming the victim consented but was found guilty following a trial at Bristol Crown Court.
During the trial, the jury was told how the 25-year-old began dancing with his victim as she enjoyed a night out in May 2019.
Less than half an hour later he led her out of the bar and into the basement of block of flats where he assaulted her.
Officers immediately began investigating the incident and Ceri-Alvarez was quickly identified and arrested following extensive CCTV checks and financial enquiries.
During the sentencing hearing, a statement written by the victim was read out.
In it, she directly addressed Cervi-Alvarez saying: “I wish to make it clear just how difficult it has been to write your name within this document.
“I considered referring to you as the ‘perpetrator’ but I wished to be respectful to you even though that is how I view you.
“To address you by name is to humanise you and I struggle to do that as your actions that evening resembled the behaviour of a brute.
“I can only hope that this was in not a reflection of your true character.
“I hope that your conviction may discourage other men from acting in an animalistic way, as you did that night. “
She added: “I hope that in the future I will find a way to forgive you and we will each learn from this ordeal. I want you to know that I constantly consider the impact this will have on your life.
“However, I am very aware that it is as a consequence of your own behaviour and no amount of time you will spend in prison will ever make up for negative effect you have had on my life.
“All that I can reasonably ask of you, is that you cause no further harm to me, yourself, or anyone else.”
Detective Constable Laura Salt said: “Cervi-Alvarez took advantage of an innocent young woman who was simply enjoying a night with her friends and he deserves to pay the penalty for his actions.
“The courage of the young woman involved in this case is truly remarkable.
“To have to suffer the ordeal she did and bravely relive the experience at court is not something anyone should have to go through.”
She added: “We are committed to improving positive outcomes for victims of rape and serious sexual offences and through Project Bluestone, a team I have recently joined, I hope we will see more offenders brought to justice for the awful crimes they commit.”
In his sentencing remarks Judge Horton praised the bravery of the victim throughout the case, acknowledging that the ordeal had “cast a dark shadow over her life”.
He added: “Her Victim Personal Statement is a remarkable document demonstrating, as did her evidence in the trial, that she is a young lady of high intelligence and high sensitivity who delivered a balanced, fair and accurate account of what she could recall of the savage reality of the offence and its aftermath and its tragic effect upon her life, but still able, to be thinking about the effect on you.”
Project Bluestone is a new evidence-based approach, which transforms the way police respond to, and investigate, rape and serious sexual offences.
Hailed as ‘pioneering’ in the Government’s Rape Review it sees a dedicated team of more than 100 officers and police staff work in partnership with leading academics and in consultation with partners across the criminal justice system and victim services.
If you’ve been a victim of sexual abuse, recent or non-recent, you don’t have to speak to the police. You can self-refer to The Bridge, a Sexual Assault Referral Centre available 24/7 365 days a year. Visit their website or call 0117 342 6999.