Friday 23 March 2018

Man lured woman with Down syndrome off street to rape her

Faisal Ellahi, originally from Pakistan but living in Ireland since 2005, covers his face after a court appearance in 2013. Photo: Paddy Cummins/
Faisal Ellahi, originally from Pakistan but living in Ireland since 2005, covers his face after a court appearance in 2013. Photo: Paddy Cummins/
Faisal Ellahi was convicted of rape and sexual assault

Conor Gallagher

A man has been convicted of raping a woman with Down syndrome after luring her back to his house.

Faisal Ellahi (34) was also found guilty by a jury of sexual assault after two and a half hours of deliberations following a five-week trial.

During the trial, the jury saw DVDs of interviews with the victim in which she said she became separated from her mother on the street before being stopped by Ellahi. He took her to his house where the rape and sexual assault occurred.

Ellahi, who is originally from Haripur in Pakistan, pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to rape, sexual assault and having sex with a mentally impaired person at his Dublin home on June 12, 2013. The jury was not required to deliberate on the third count, if it convicted him of rape.

Mr Justice Tony Hunt said the case was one of the most difficult he had ever dealt with. He told the jurors their verdict was "absolutely correct" and that Ellahi's claim that the woman consented to the acts or was capable of consenting to them was "absolutely ludicrous".

"He attempted to deceive you, as he did others, and fool you, but you didn't fall for it," he told jurors.

Referring to the victim and her family, the judge said the case was an example of how "very bad things can happen to very good people".

The victim's family wept and hugged as the verdict came in. There was no reaction from Ellahi.

Mr Justice Hunt heard the victim's family want the matter dealt with as soon as possible. He set a sentence date for January 18, 2016, and he hopes the authorities will deport Ellahi after his sentence is complete.

The trial heard that the victim said that Ellahi locked the door behind them and she was afraid he was going to stab or kill her. "I wanted to go home but he wouldn't let me," she said. At one point she panicked and started banging on the door screaming: "Help, mum, help."

Ellahi gave evidence in his own defence in which he admitted propositioning women as he walked the streets near his Dublin home. He said he would stop women to come home with him for "consensual fun". He said he also used prostitutes.

The court heard evidence from 16 women who were approached by Ellahi in the area around the time of the rape.

He was spotted by gardaí jogging behind two 15-year-old-girls two days after the rape.

The garda heard a girl scream and saw the two teenagers sprinting away. She said that when she approached them, they seemed shaken and in shock.

One woman who lived across the road from him said he tried to force his way inside her home after she returned from a night out.

During his evidence, Ellahi admitted "sexual contact" with the special needs victim but denied penetrative sex and claimed that he didn't know she had a mental impairment.

He said he never heard of Down syndrome until his arrest. He said in his native country, people with mental impairments are kept at home or in hospitals and that they wear name badges to indicate they are disabled.

Ellahi moved to Ireland in 2005 where he found work as a security guard. He was unemployed at the time of the rape and spent his days walking the streets, he said.

A psychologist for the defence, Dr Rioghnach O'Leary, said Ellahi comes from an area of Pakistan where Sharia law is practised, with strict rules against physical contact between men and women.

Irish Independent

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