In a busy November for the county’s courts, here are five Hertfordshire criminals who have been convicted this month, including a "vile" rapist who attacked a woman in Hatfield.

1. Stefan Keleman

Stefan Keleman, of Campion Road in Hatfield, was sentenced to six years and nine months for raping and assaulting a women, after appearing at St Albans Crown Court on Monday (November 13).

At around 11.30pm on Sunday, June 18, Keleman was involved in a brief conversation with a woman in Asda car park.

He then followed the woman into the town centre and he punched her in the back of the head before pinning her to the ground. He then raped the victim while continuing his attack by hitting, punching and biting her.

Welwyn Hatfield Times: Stefan Keleman.Stefan Keleman. (Image: Herts police)

"Keleman is a vile individual who thought nothing of raping a stranger he had just briefly met. During the attack he continued assaulting the victim by hitting, punching and biting her," said Detective Constable Jarl Thomason, from the constabulary’s Sexual Offences Investigation Team.

In addition to the custodial sentence, the 46-year-old was handed a restraining order, placed on the sex offenders register for life, and will be deported to Romania when he completes his sentence.

2. Liam Winters and Mark Winters

Liam Winters, 46, of High Street, Hillmorton, Rugby, was handed a 17-month sentence after dumping enough waste to "fill three Royal Albert Halls", at a quarry in Hertfordshire.

Alongside his brother, Mark Winters, 49, of Oxford Street, Rugby, who was sentenced to 12 months, suspended for two years, the Warwickshire pair disposed of large quantities of household and business waste at Codicote Quarry, where they were directors, for almost three years.

In all, more than 200,000 cubic metres of banned and potentially harmful material was dumped, enough to fill the Royal Albert Hall three times over.

Welwyn Hatfield Times: Mark and Liam Winters dumped waste at Codicote Quarry.Mark and Liam Winters dumped waste at Codicote Quarry. (Image: Environment Agency)

Codicote Quarry had a permit to treat and store a small amount of soil waste, but not hold it in huge quantities, meaning it went beyond what was authorised by the Environment Agency - which questioned the pair in 2017.

As well as mountains of waste, the pair were also burying it, more than 12 metres deep in places, under a layer of chalk.

By November 2017, with the quarry holding so much illegal and contaminated waste, the Environment Agency suspended the site’s permit, but attempts to get the waste removed failed.

"We hope that prison for Liam Winters and a suspended term for Mark Winters sends out a strong message that we will prosecute waste site operators who do not follow the rules for disposal," said Barry Russell, environment manager for the Environment Agency in Hertfordshire.

3. Fortune Lawson

Fortune Lawson, the ringleader of an organised crime gang that kidnapped and tortured its victims with knives and boiling water in exchange for cash and expensive jewellery, has been jailed for 25 years.

Nine members of the gang, which used a Hemel Hempstead flat as a base for their crimes, were sentenced for their involvement in three separate plots.

In December 2020, Lawson kidnapped one of his victims, Victim A, on the pretence of smoking cannabis together.

Welwyn Hatfield Times: Fortune Lawson.Fortune Lawson. (Image: South Wales Police)

Instead, he took him to a flat in Cardiff and waterboarded and beat him and threatened him with guns and knives and an “attack dog”.

Victim A was forced to call a friend to arrange for £50,000 to be handed over, but the friend called South Wales Police to report a “life or death situation” and, unbeknownst to the kidnappers, hostage negotiators were monitoring phone calls.

The victim was taken to another stronghold in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, where the horrifying ordeal continued before he was eventually rescued by armed police, who found him with cable ties on his wrists “shaking and crying”.

The court heard about two further plots. In one, a "terrified" Victim B was kidnapped outside his London home in November 2018 after he was seen wearing a Rolex watch in a Snapchat photograph.

DNA evidence obtained from blood found in the Cardiff flat led police to identify another victim, Victim C, who had also been held against his will and repeatedly assaulted at the same address.

Welwyn Hatfield Times: The gang in full.The gang in full. (Image: South Wales Police)

As well as Lawson, eight other members of the gang were also sentenced:

  • Davood Assadpour, 33, and 30-year-old Micaiah Marley, from Watford, were jailed for 15 years
  • Arnold Fumemeya and Alexis Mutesa, both 27, for 13 years 
  • Gideon Lawson, 24, for 12 years 
  • Ahmed Omar, 29, for nine years
  • Stephen Isaac, 66, for six years
  • Denis Delishaj, 34, for eight years, as well as eight months for having a phone in prison

4. John Probert

John Probert, of Deerswood Avenue, Hatfield, has been jailed for three years after breaching a Sexual Harm Prevention Order.

He was found guilty of two breaches of his SHPO, and sentenced at St Albans Crown Court on Wednesday, November 14.

The 56-year-old after registering two alias names with online chat sites and then used those names to interact with other users, discussing his "sexual interest in children", according to Herts police.

Probert had been the subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order since 2016, and in 2019, he was hit with a lifetime order.

Welwyn Hatfield Times: John Probert.John Probert. (Image: Herts police)

"Probert has used several social media websites with his alias names, which he was not allowed to do as per the terms of his order," said Detective Inspector Phoebe Biggs, from the Public Protection Unit.

"He has then gone onto numerous social media and chat sites where he has discussed his sexual interest in children and has deliberately concealed his identity to enable him to do this.

"This was a clear breach of the Sexual Harm Prevention Order."

5. Robert Brown

Robert Brown, 38, from Hitchin Road in Luton, has been charged with the murder of Victoria Greenwood, who was found dead in a small car park between Roe Green and Wallington at around 8pm on Tuesday, November 14.

After a hearing at Luton Crown Court on November 21, he has been remanded in custody, with a trial set for May 7, 2024, Hertfordshire police have confirmed.

Victoria had been reported missing and was last seen in Luton on November 10.

Brown was arrested and charged after the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit opened an investigation.