November 2018

Serial rapist back behind bars after viewing images of child abuse

A serial rapist with a “frightening record of sex offending” viewed indecent images of children after being released from prison on licence.

Michael Podlubny breached the terms of his release by viewing the images.

The 64-year-old was recalled back to prison when the offending came to light.

Leicester Crown Court heard that Podlubny was previously jailed for an attempted rape, and again for a later rape, before being given a life sentence in 2004 for three counts of rape involving two women and a kidnap offence.

Gregor Purcell, prosecuting, said Podlubny was released from prison on a life licence in October last year, and was living at a hostel in London Road, Leicester.

The conditions of his release included undergoing polygraph tests, and during a test in March this year he admitted he had breached the terms of his release by being in contact with a registered sex offender in a different county.

Podlubny’s two mobiles phones were seized, and it was discovered that not only had he been searching the internet for extreme topics of an indecent nature, including violent sex attacks, but he had accessed six illegal images of youngsters.

He admitted three counts of downloading indecent images of children, involving a photograph in the most serious category, category A, one in category B and four in category C.

Judge Philip Head said: “You have, on a dispassionate view, a frightening record of sex offending.

“You were released from a life sentence on the recommendation of the Parole Board on October 27, 2017, and there were conditions attached, including that you reside in appropriate lodgings.

“The sentence I pass has to be concurrent with your present life sentence and the only effect will affect the decision of the Parole Board considering your release.

“You were arrested and returned to custody.

“Two mobile phones you legitimately held were examined and one was found to have a quantity of what is technically legal pornography, but of a sort that is very disturbing, indicative of the sort of activity (raping of women) for which you’ve previously been convicted.

“The other phone had six indecent images of children on it.

“When interviewed about the material you expressed relief because you’d been in a downward spiral with the pornography you were accessing.

“You provided your PIN codes for your phones knowing they would reveal what you’d been viewing.

“In normal circumstances such a small quantity of images, for someone with a previously clean record, would have resulted in a suspended prison sentence.

“But you’re at the other end of that scale and it’s grossly aggravated by your record and the fact you were on a life licence at the time.”

Imposing an eight month prison sentence, the judge said: “The sentence is consistent with the attitude you expressed and the cooperation provided to the police.

“The Parole Board will not be able to consider you for release until eight months from today.”

The judge went on to say that it could be that the board may consider “whether you should ever be released”.

Podlubny was told he was being placed on a sexual harm prevention order – enabling the authorities to monitor any future internet use – and a sex offenders register, both for life.

December 2004

‘Jekyll and Hyde’ salesman gets life for rape attacks

A respected family man was revealed yesterday as a Jekyll and Hyde rapist, who hid past convictions and used business conferences as a cover for random attacks.

Michael Podlubny, 50, a father of two, subjected his victims to long and terrifying ordeals before making small talk to them and apologising for his behaviour.

He admitted three rapes and an attempted rape, involving two women, and was given concurrent life sentences on each count, although his guilty pleas automatically reduced the terms by half.

In theory Podlubny, whose wife has terminal cancer, could apply for parole after just over six years but he was told that in practice he was likely to leave jail only as an elderly man.

“No woman is safe when you are around,” said Judge Paul Hoffman at York crown court. “You are said to be a good and caring husband and father and a good and successful salesman. But there is a more sinister and shadowy side to you. You are a predatory rapist and your inclinations are entrenched. You are a Jekyll and Hyde character.”

The court heard that Podlubny, a travelling salesman, had previous convictions for attempted rape in Leicester in 1976 and a rape in Harrogate in 1980 for which he served four years. But these were unknown to colleagues and customers.

His dark side was also hidden from family and friends in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire.

But after drinking heavily at the annual Ambex conference in Harrogate, a trade exhibition, he went looking for victims.

The court heard that he appeared to have got away with rape in 1999, when he pounced on a 29-year-old woman and dragged her into a garden.

Police caught up with him in July this year, when he was at Ambex in Harrogate again and ambushed a 45-year-old woman walking home through the Valley Gardens.

Podlubny held her captive until 6am after repeated assaults, then chatted about birds in the park and walked her to a taxi rank, where she escaped.

The woman had made a careful note of his appearance and gave police a detailed description.

Podlubny was arrested at his home five weeks later. The victim of the 1999 attack also came forward.

Jonathan Carroll, prosecuting, said Podlubny had confessed the rapes to his wife while getting dressed to go with detectives for an interview.

His attacks dated back to when he was only 21, although his first conviction in Leicester had not been followed by a jail term.