Violent sex attacker Arturas Ardavicius faces life in jail, Leicester court told
A man convicted of raping and attempting to murder a woman on an isolated track was warned he could be facing life imprisonment.
Judge Simon Hammond said the pregnant victim, a prostitute, would have died if two milkmen had not chanced upon the scene.
He said it was "a miracle" she survived her violent ordeal at the hands of Arturas Ardavicius, who fled when two milk floats appeared.
The 26-year-old defendant was found guilty by a Leicester Crown Court jury yesterday of attempted murder and two counts of rape.
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Judge Hammond told Ardavicius, a Lithuanian national: "If it's not a life sentence, it's going to be 20 years or so."
He said: "On the face of it, this man is a very serious danger.
"I'm giving a public commendation to the two milkmen from Kirby and West.
"I've no doubt if they hadn't happened to drive by, this woman would have been murdered.
"She behaved with huge courage and dignity when she gave evidence.
"Prostitutes are entitled to the protection of the courts.
"Like all women, they are entitled to be protected from wicked men."
Ardavicius picked up the 31-year-old woman in the Highfields area of the city.
He drove her to a remote dirt track on Richard III Road, near the depot of Kirby and West's dairy, in Leicester.
Ardavicius suddenly turned violent during consensual sex in his car.
He twice throttled his victim until she blacked out, smiling with pleasure while squeezing her neck. He then twice raped her.
Petrified, she was unable to fight him off.
When she tried to run away, he chased her and forced her to the ground, in the early hours of July 7 last year.
She said: "He grabbed my windpipe and stuck his fingers down my throat, like he was trying to rip my throat out. I was gagging and could feel myself passing out."
She said she imagined her mother identifying her dead body.
She told the court: "I remember seeing bright lights and as soon as he saw the milk floats he got up and ran off."
She said the two Kirby and West milkmen, who stopped to help her, saved her life and she was "lucky to be alive."
Ardavicius (26), of Bonchurch Street, off Fosse Road North, Leicester, denied the offences.
A jury of 10 women and two men rejected his defence claim that the woman stole his wallet and he was only holding her in a headlock, trying to get his money back, when the milkmen arrived.
The dairy workers, who took her to their depot, found her distraught, with ripped clothing and strangulation marks on her neck.
Judge Hammond also commended Dc Nikki McLatchie, of the police rape specialist Signal Team, for leading a "skilful and thorough investigation."
He said the defendant took "every step" to cover his tracks, including cleaning out his car, taking identifying flags from it and deleting messages from his phone. He was traced through traffic camera footage of his car.
Ardavicius, a haulage firm warehouse worker, was jailed in Lithuania for a stabbing during a fight when he was aged 17.
Sentencing was adjourned until March 15, for a pre-sentence report.