He appeared the friendly and baby-faced boy next door who charmed the women he met by offering to walk them home.
In fact, 23-year-old Mateusz Otfinowski was a predatory rapist who turned from a chatty man into a dangerous sex attacker – even breaking into Lancaster students’ flats to seek his next target.
Now Otfinowski, orginally from Latvia but living in Lord Street, Morecambe, faces life imprisonment for his terrifying attacks on two women in the city. We can reveal the true horror of his crimes and that police believe there may be many more victims – who have been urged to come forward.
Otfinowski’s victims, both young women returning from nights out, had their lives irrevocably changed when they crossed paths with the predator after he befriended them.
Neither rape victim was concerned about the normal-sounding man until he had turned on them, said Detective Inspector Richard McCutcheon, who led the case.
One victim was raped three times in the street in an horrific attack.
The other was raped in her own home when Otfinowski broke in.
Det Insp McCutcheon praised both women for their ‘courage and ‘strength’ following their ordeal.
He told the Lancaster Guardian: “The concerning thing is that he engages these vulnerable women in conversation – he is neither intimidating or aggressive.
“He makes conversation and appears normal and he befriends the victim but at whatever moment he sees, he turns and attacks them.”
Charles Brown, prosecuting, told Preston Crown Court that Otfinowski, who came to the UK from Latvia as a teenager, had preyed on the women who had had a drink and were vulnerable.
The court heard that in the first attack last March 3, Otfinowski, 23, met a student who was walking home alone after falling out with her friends on a night out in Lancaster.
The woman had lost her way and Otfinowski told her he lived in the same area and would walk with her.
But after walking and talking for a short distance predatory Otfinowski demanded the woman performed a sex act and when she refused he became violent, raping her three times before leaving her distressed and traumatised in the street.
The woman reported the attack and DNA was taken but did not match any samples recorded on the national database. Also in March, Otfinowski broke into student accommodation through the kitchen window, but because the students had locked their doors, he was unable to commit a sexual offence.
However, he had left his fingerprints on the window.
On July 26, Otfinowski struck again, targeting a single mum who was walking home alone after celebrating a wedding in Morecambe.
He again told her he lived in the same area and walked her home.The woman left him close to her home and went to bed but woke a short time later to find she was being raped and a man’s hand was over her mouth.
She did not see her attacker but DNA taken from her matched the sample from Otfinowski’s first victim.
Otfinowski was arrested following house to house enquiries, speaking with witnesses and members of the public and looking through CCTV. Once arrested Otfinowski’s DNA and fingerprints were matched to the two rapes and the break-in at the student accommodation.
Chris Hudson, defending, said his client had taken to walking the streets at night as his partner was working and was tired in the evenings.
However he soon realised there were drunk women he could take advantage of.
Otfinowski pleaded guilty to rape and trespass with intent to commit a sexual offence. He will serve a minimum term of seven-and-a-half years in prison before he can apply for parole.
Det Insp McCutcheon said: “His picture has never been published before, so if there are victims that might recognise the picture, or think ‘he came up to me, approached me’ or tried something, we will investigate any reports.
“Thankfully these cases are very rare in my experience and others who worked on the case. The victims went through horrific ordeals but had the strength to come forward and report them.
“They were prepared to give evidence against him and were supported by the police throughout. They showed great courage to go to court and face their attacker.
“One small thing is he pleaded guilty and that saved them from having to testify.
“The life sentence means he will be managed and monitored for the rest of his life.
“When he comes out of prison if he commits further offences he can be recalled to prison. The victims can now try and rebuild their lives.
“He is in the right place and off the streets.”