THREE men who imprisoned and repeatedly raped a vulnerable homeless woman have been jailed for a total of 36 years.

Sentencing Adrian Viocu, Sandokan Pachiu and Constantin Dumitru, the Honorary Recorder of Bolton, Judge Martin Walsh, told them: “The attack was predatory and your conduct taken together could properly be described as bestial.”

Voicu, aged 31, had come across the 44-year-old woman outside a homeless shelter on June 1 last year after she missed the entry curfew and persuaded her to come with him to a flat above a pizza take-away in Chapel Street, Leigh, with the offer of a warm drink.

The woman, initially reluctant, went with him only to be kept imprisoned in the flat for 10 hours during which she was repeatedly raped by Viocu, Pachiu, Dumitru, and a fourth man who has not yet been apprehended.

Following a trial at Bolton Crown Court Viocu, of Siddow Common, Pachiu, aged 40, of Chapel Street, and Dumitru, aged 24, of Elizabeth Street, all Leigh, were each convicted of two counts of rape and one of false imprisonment.

The court had heard once inside the flat she was forcibly told to go upstairs where her ordeal began.

“Although no significant physical injury was inflicted upon her, the psychological impact is clearly significant. She was traumatised by what took place,” added Judge Walsh.

The woman was eventually able to leave and the incident was reported to police.

Her attackers were arrested and when questioned all three claimed they had been drunk and using cannabis so could not remember much of what happened.

Pachiu told officers: “I didn’t notice if she seemed to be enjoying herself or not.”

And when asked whether he was bothered, replied “not really”.

Dumitru admitted he had heard the woman say “no” when she was in a bedroom with the others.

All three defendants, sat in the dock, held their heads in their hands as Judge Walsh told them: “The manner in which the prolonged attack took place was degrading and humiliating.”

Voicu was sentenced to 13 years in prison while his co-defendants were each jailed for 11 years and six months.

Speaking after the sentencing, Det Sgt Eleanor Campbell said: “The victim was abused in one of the worst ways. These men preyed on her vulnerability to lure her into the address. This was a sickening and horrific ordeal that will no doubt leave a damaging and haunting impact on the victim.

“I’d like to thank her for her unwavering co-operation in this investigation and I hope this helps bring some form of closure after such a lengthy ordeal.

“And I hope this sentencing sends a clear message that sexual assault is absolutely not acceptable and anyone who engages in this criminal behaviour will be brought to justice to face the consequences for their actions.”