Northampton rapist sentenced to prison term after fleeing country before finally pleading guilty

The 51-year-old shockingly rang his victim after he raped her ‘to check if she was okay’

Thursday, 25th November 2021, 4:51 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th November 2021, 4:52 pm

A Northampton rapist who took four years to admit to his crime after fleeing the country has been given a custodial sentence.

Zanis Janis Stepans, previously of Raymond Road, Northampton, met his victim for the first time in 2017 and raped her, Northamptonshire Police said. The 51-year-old left her shortly afterwards, before ringing her later on ‘to check she was okay’.

An investigation was launched by Northamptonshire Police and Stepans was arrested and charged with rape.

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Zanis Janis Stepans. Photo: Northamptonshire Police.

A spokesperson for the police said: "However, he fled the country in an attempt to evade justice, eventually being found in Germany in February 2021 when he was then remanded into custody for trial.

"Throughout the court process he maintained his innocence. Then at the 11th hour he decided to tell the truth and pleaded guilty.

"He was sentenced at Northampton Crown Court this week for rape and for breaching his bail.

"The sentence handed to him was seven years and five months in prison," the spokesperson said.

Lead Investigator, DS Dan Spires, said: “This has been an exceptionally drawn-out experience for the victim in this case and I would like to commend her for her bravery in seeing this through from 2017 until sentencing this week.

“She has shown an incredible amount of resolve and I hope she realises that it is her courage that has led to a dangerous offender being taken off the streets, unable to harm anyone else.

“Here at Northamptonshire Police, we take incidents of rape and sexual assault really seriously. We always treat reports with the sensitivity and confidence they deserve and I hope this case shows that we will not stop until justice is served against the offenders.”

Detective Inspector Simon Barnes, added: "DS Spires is a prime example of the dedication and perseverance we at Northamptonshire Police CID give to all victims of crimes.

"He never gave up the hunt for the offender and pursued all of the legal and procedural requirements to locate, arrest and extradite Stepans back to the UK so he could face justice.

"DS Spires’ investigation and preparation of the case file resulted in this guilty plea and I commend him and the team for their exceptional work. I am delighted he got to deliver the good news to the victim."

If you have been affected by issues of sexual assault, Northamptonshire Police encourages you to report it to the force.

Support can also be found via the Northamptonshire Rape Crisis Centre.