A MAN has been jailed for four years after he kidnapped and sexually assaulted a young woman, who was in a vulnerable state, in central London.
Thirty-one-year-old Sharif Abbas of Nightingale Road, Haringey, was sent to four years of imprisonment for sexual assault and four years for kidnapping by the Southwark Crown Court on Friday (15). The sentences are to be served concurrently, Metropolitan Police said in a release.
Abbas was found guilty of kidnap and sexual on December 16 last year by the same court.
The court heard that at around 6 am on June 16, 2019, a 19-year-old woman fell down a set of stairs as she walked from one platform to another at Bond Street tube station and sustained a head injury and had a wrist broken.
She made her way to another platform where, suffering from a profusely bleeding head injury that exposed her skull, she sat down.
Abbas approached her and offered to help her. He led her out of the station, putting on a TfL high-vis vest, and after telling her to wait for him, scouted out an empty basement of a nearby building.
He then brought her back to the basement, telling her he needed to examine her for injuries, at which point he sexually assaulted her.
When Abbas entered the building’s basement, he had unknowingly triggered a silent alarm.
Police soon arrived to investigate the alarm and found Abbas with the injured woman under a covered walkway where they were not visible to passers-by at street level.
On entry, officers found Abbas standing behind the victim with his hands under her clothing and the fly of his jeans undone.
Abbas was arrested on suspicion of sexual assault and was taken to a north London police station.
The victim was taken by London Ambulance Service to a west London hospital where she underwent surgery for a broken wrist and received treatment for a serious head injury. She has since made a full recovery from those injuries.
When Abbas was asked by the cops as to why he did not press the emergency button on the platform which was close to where the victim sat (he also walked the victim past at least three further emergency buttons) – he said it did not occur to him as he was trying to help her.
Also in the police interview, he claimed that he tried to call for an ambulance inside the tube station but could not get a phone signal. He said the victim had asked him not to call for an ambulance. However, in the 45 minutes they stayed together, he had his phone connected to his ear throughout, but no call to 999 was made nor did he administer the injured woman any first aid.
He initially told officers he had just spoken to a man who would provide bandages and first aid. Officers viewed the CCTV at the building which showed that no other person had come into contact with Abbas and the victim.
The high-vis vest that he wore was one that he had used when he was employed, some two years previously, conducting bus passenger surveys.
Abbas told the detectives that he carried it with him for use if he went running or in case he came across ‘an accident or something’.
Detective constable Nigel Pacquette, the investigating officer from the Central West Command Unit, said, “The young lady targeted by Abbas has been incredibly brave, determined and patient throughout this investigation and the court proceedings.
“She no longer lives in the UK, and due to Abbas’s not guilty plea, was compelled to return to Britain and quarantine in order to take part in the trial process. I applaud her actions to help ensure that other women are spared the perverse attentions of this man.
“Abbas was travelling on the Tube network carrying a high-vis tabard that would give the impression that he was a member of TfL staff. Given that he was unemployed, this alone was concerning, but his actions toward the victim were even more sinister.
“He claimed that he had taken her into the basement in order to check her body for cuts and bruises, after which he was going to help her, yet he stated he had no medical training, nor had he taken any actions to address her significant head wound.
“To take advantage of a seriously injured woman, particularly at a time when she required urgent medical attention, is deplorable. Thankfully, the quick thinking of the officers who responded to the alarm call, ensured that Abbas was apprehended at the scene.
“He was calculating and predatory and the verdict is wholly the right outcome to ensure that other women are protected from him.
“I am aware that the details of this case, and the predatory nature of offenders such as Abbas, will instill fear in many women. The team I work with at Charing Cross Police Station are working hard to remove offenders of this type from our streets and will continue to make use of every available resource in order to place such offenders before the courts.
“I urge any women who find themselves in a position where they are afraid, to raise the alarm. Tell someone, move closer to other people, whatever it takes to ensure that you feel safe and are safe. If you believe that you are in danger, don’t hesitate, dial 999.”
The judge said, “I have no doubt that had they (the police) not attended in that moment, you (Abbas) would have gone on to commit a more serious sexual assault.