Antoni Imiela, known variously as the M25 Rapist, was a monster whose victims ranged in age from 10 to 52. It took the actions of a brave teenager to finally help the police get their man.
He was dubbed the M25 Rapist, as well as the Trophy Rapist. He will surely go down as one of the most terrifying and evil men in British criminal history.
German-born Antoni Imiela’s reign of terror saw him carry out sickening attacks on victims ranging in age from 10 to 52. His callousness knew no bounds.
Born in Lubeck, West Germany in 1954, the son of a Polish soldier and a German mother, Imiela’s family moved to the UK in 1961.
Responsible for a series of armed robberies in the late 1980s, he carried out his first attack on a woman in south-east London in the early hours of Christmas Day 1987. He grabbed his victim near her flat, while she was looking for her husband after a row. Imiela threatened to kill her if she called for help. He was eventually convicted of her rape, indecent assault and buggery, but not until 2012. So what happened in the intervening 25 years?
Just two weeks after the Christmas Day attack, Imiela handed himself into police for the armed robbery spree. Had the attack been his sick way of indulging his dark desires before facing what he knew would be a lengthy prison sentence?
He was jailed for 14 years for the armed robberies. On his release in 1996, Imiela moved to the Kent village of Appledore. There he had various jobs before finding work as a railway engineer.
It would be five years after his release that Imiela would bring terror to the south-east of England. Like his London victim, he would snatch girls or women while they were out walking, drag them into a secluded area and attack them.
Chillingly, Imiela’s victims included girls aged 10, 13 and 14, and he was brazen enough to strike in busy areas in broad daylight. On one occasion, he even carried out two attacks in one day.
Aware that he had left DNA on the 10-year-old victim who he snatched from outside a community centre, evil Imiela decided that he could avoid detection by using a condom in future attacks and also use his victims’ clothing to wipe away any evidence he left behind. This cunning earned him another nickname – the Trophy Rapist – as police at first believed he was keeping the items as sick souvenirs.
After one harrowing attack on a nurse, Imiela left his victim bound by her bra and bootlaces. Showing his utter heartlessness, he scrolled through her mobile phone which he had taken and rang her mother’s number. On answering, her mother was told: ‘You know your daughter, the blonde one – I have just shagged her. You’ll hear about it later.’ When the victim’s sister called the phone back, warped Imiela said her sister was ‘a bit tied up at the moment.’
Another victim was forced to the ground and told to remove her clothes. Imiela told her: ‘I won’t hurt you physically. This will just leave you emotionally scarred.’ And a 52-year-old victim was raped and then told by her rapist: ‘By the way, you weren’t a bad ride.’
Why would anyone act with such depravity and lack of humanity? In Imiela’s case, one theory put forward is that feelings of inadequacy were a driver. More than one victim mentioned their attacker, who stood 5ft 6in tall, having a small penis. Could a hatred of his own body have driven his desire to dominate weak and vulnerable victims? During one attack, Imiela said to his terrified victim, ‘Tell me how big and strong I am.’
It seems that a lifetime of feeling inferior – plus suffering bullying in his childhood for his German background – might have been coming to the surface in the most destructive way.
The beginning of the end for Antoni Imiela’s reign of terror finally came after he attacked a 14-year-old girl in Hertfordshire. His brave victim, who had been told, ‘If you scream, I’ll kill you’, was able to provide a good description of her attacker. So good, that the police e-fit was recognised by a neighbour of Imiela’s. Imiela was told to give a DNA swab, but the week-long wait for results left the monster with the opportunity to carry out one more ruinous attack.
His final victim – just 10 years old – was subjected to a horrific five-hour ordeal in which Imiela stopped his car eight times to abuse her. He even told her: ‘I’ve got nothing to lose’, as he knew the net was closing in.
When the DNA sample came back as a match, it led to a dramatic capture, and ultimately to Imiela receiving seven life sentences for his crimes. After the 2004 trial, it was revealed that Imiela had written to his son. He said: ‘I cannot control my sexual urges. I’m a man, you must understand that sometimes you have no control over your impulses.’
As the judge in Imiela’s trial for the Christmas Day attack, passed sentence, he said: ‘On what I have heard in this trial… you seem to me to have a dislike of humanity in general. You have not expressed one jot of remorse.’
Antoni Imiela is currently serving his time in Wakefield prison, and it can only be hoped that he might be as tortured by his shockingly violent, inhumane actions as his victims undoubtedly would be.