Lengthy jail term for sadistic man who subjected Sheffield student to five-hour sex attack to live out 'real rape fantasy'

Leo Del Pellegrino, 26, of Addlestone, Surrey has been jailed for 17 years, with an extended license period of five years
Leo Del Pellegrino, 26, of Addlestone, Surrey has been jailed for 17 years, with an extended license period of five years
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A 26-year-old man who subjected a woman he met on a dating app in Sheffield to a five-hour long sex attack in order to live out his sadistic 'rape fantasies' has been handed a lengthy jail term.

It took jurors just under a day to find Leo Del Pellegrino, 26, guilty of 11 sex offences including nine counts of rape and one count of attempted rape.

Following the verdict being reached at Sheffield Crown Court this afternoon, Judge Julian Goose QC sentenced Del Pellegrino, of Addlestone, Surrey, to 17 years in prison, with an extended license period of five years, imposed due to the 'serious risk' of harm he is deemed to pose to members of the public.

Del Pellegrino was sentenced for the 11 counts relating to the horrific sex attack that took place on November 7 last year; as well as for a further eight counts that he admitted to before the trial which relate to the use of extreme pornography, including media that depicts women being raped at knifepoint.

The court heard how in the run-up to the incident, Del Pellegrino and several of his work colleagues, all of whom were visiting Sheffield on a business trip, had gone for a meal and drinks.

During the course of the evening he began scouring profiles across numerous dating apps in a bid to find a victim to prey upon.

"In effect, you were casting a net to see which woman you might find," Judge Goose told Del Pellegrino, adding: "[You were motivated by] your clear obsession with pornography of real rape."

Del Pellegrino, an IT consultant, was found to have used search terms such as 'Asian rape' and 'real rape video' on his computer, prior to the incident taking place.

After making contact with his victim, a Chinese national studying in Sheffield, Del Pellegrino convinced the young woman to meet him outside a shop near her flat.

He managed to gain access to her flat by telling her he needed to use the bathroom, and once inside he began carrying out the sickening ordeal which lasted for around five hours.

Not only did Del Pellegrino rape the woman repeatedly, but he also restrained her by tying her hands together, strangled her, slashed her on her back with a craft knife and wrote obscene graffiti on intimate areas of her body using a felt tip.

Del Pellegrino humiliated the woman even further by taking pictures of her in the degrading state he left her in and threatened to put them on the internet and send them to all of the contacts in her phone.

Judge Goose told him: "Your sole purpose was was to humiliate her.

"It was your purpose that she didn't consent. It was your desire because, I'm satisfied, you were acting out the images you had seen on the internet.

He added: "You were seeking to carry out your fantasies of real rape."

"The effect [on her] will, I'm in no doubt, will be permanent and profound."

The court was told that the attack only came to an end when the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, managed to escape from her flat.

After sentencing Del Pellegrino, Judge Goose told jurors that the amount of evidence in the case against the 26-year-old had been overwhelming, and thanked them for convicting him.

Senior Crown Prosecutor, Claire MacDonald, from the Crown Prosecution Service said: "The terror and suffering Del Pellegrino inflicted on his victim is unimaginable. He subjected his victim to a violent, prolonged and degrading series of sexual acts, including multiple rapes during which he daubed her with obscene graffiti using a marker pen and sharp implement.

“This man is, without doubt, a very serious danger to women.

"Today he has been found guilty of multiple offences and his dangerousness is reflected in the extended sentence. Our thoughts remain with his victim as they have been throughout.”

Del Pellegrino must serve at least two-thirds of his 17-year sentence before he can be considered for release.

He has also been made the subject of a sexual harm prevention order.

Sheffield Rape Crisis offer free and confidential support to anyone who has experienced rape or sexual abuse at any time in their lives. Call their helpline on 0808 802 0013, or visit their website by clicking here.

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