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'Jekyll and Hyde' rapist jailed

A respected family man who led a double life as a serial rapist touring the country as a travelling salesman has been jailed for life.

Michael Podlubny, 50, from Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, subjected one woman to repeated assaults over three-hours in Harrogate in July.   He also raped another woman in the town in 1999 and had previous convictions for rape, York Crown Court heard

Podlubny pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to three charges of rape.  York Crown Court heard Podlubny, described by the judge as a predatory rapist, had convictions for an attempted rape in Leicester in 1976 and a rape committed again in Harrogate in 1980.

The defendant, described by one victim as "middle-class and respectable", also admitted one charge of attempted rape during the earlier hearing in October.

Podlubny had been visiting the North Yorkshire town for an exhibition in 1999 when he attacked his third victim, subjecting her to a brutal assault.   The court heard that he apologised to his 29-year-old victim afterwards, even asking for her phone number.

In 2004, Podlubny was in Harrogate for the same exhibition and he struck again, this time pouncing on a 45-year-old woman as she made her way home after a night out.   Despite her desperate pleas for him to stop, he continued to assault her for several hours.

The court was told he displayed the same erratic behaviour after the woman's ordeal, asking for her phone number and walking her to a taxi rank.   As he attempted to walk hand-in-hand with her down the street she made her escape and raised the alarm.

The woman provided detectives with a good description and the subsequent e-fit of Podlubny was recognised by the woman he attacked in Harrogate five years previously.   He was arrested at his home on Spinney Lane, Alconbury, on 9 August.

Ordering him to serve three life sentences, Judge Paul Hoffman said: "How these women survived these ordeals you inflicted on them is difficult to imagine. The psychological trauma must run very deep."   Mr Hoffman said that in light of the guilty pleas he would have to reduce the term of the sentences by 50%.

It means Podlubny will be able to apply for parole in just over six years time, although the judge said it was unlikely he would be released until he was a very old man.   "You are a Jekyll and Hyde character. You are said to be a good and caring husband and father and you are said to be a good and successful salesman," the judge added.

"But there's a more sinister and shadowy side to you. You are in fact a predatory rapist and your inclinations are long standing and entrenched. No woman is safe when you are around."

Source: BBC NEWS


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