Sunday 18 February 2018

Rapist gets 13 years for 'depraved' attack on Down Syndrome woman

Faisal Ellahi: his victim told the court that he locked the door behind them and she feared he was going to stab or kill her
Faisal Ellahi: his victim told the court that he locked the door behind them and she feared he was going to stab or kill her

Conor Gallagher and Aoife Nic Ardghail

A rapist who targeted a young woman with Down Syndrome had "carelessly demolished" her independence, a judge said as he sentenced him to 13 years in jail.

Mr Justice Tony Hunt said the "frightening, appalling, disgusting and depraved" offence committed by Faisal Ellahi had taken away years of work in helping the woman lead an independent life.

He said this was "all blown away for a couple of minutes of instant gratification".

Ellahi (34), who is originally from Haripur in Pakistan, had pleaded not guilty last year to rape, sexual assault and having sex with a mentally impaired person at his Dublin home on June 12, 2013.

But a jury at the Central Criminal Court convicted him of the rape and sexual assault charges.

Judge Hunt said he would not suspend any portion of the sentence as he hoped Ellahi would not be in the community on release. He added that he hoped the Minister for Justice would take every step to remove Ellahi from the country when his sentence was completed.

The judge noted that Ellahi had been out "prowling" the streets, approaching another woman at the same time his victim was returning home.

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 she looked "normal" to him and that she had enjoyed herself.

In the late afternoon of June 12, 2013, the woman's mother was worried when she hadn't returned home. She was about to call gardaí when she heard her daughter banging at the door shouting, "Mum, mum, help, help, let me in."

Gardaí were called and a massive investigation was launched. Officers canvassed the area, which led to several women coming forward to say they had recently been approached by Ellahi.

The victim was driven around the area and was able to point out the door of the premises she was taken to.

Gardaí spoke to everyone who lived in the building, including Ellahi, who denied any knowledge of the incident.

Over the following nights, detectives kept watch outside his house. One night they observed him leaving and speaking to two 15-year-old girls in the street. When the girls walked away, he began to follow them until gardaí intervened.

He was arrested a week later and interviewed four times. He initially told gardaí he regularly brought women he met on the street back to his house for sex but that he didn't meet anyone that day.

Forensic testing later matched his DNA to that found on the woman.

The trial heard that the victim told a specialist interviewer that Ellahi locked the door behind them and that she was afraid he was going to stab or kill her.

"I wanted to go home but he wouldn't let me," she said.

The woman said that at one point she panicked and started banging on the door screaming "help, mum, help".

Irish Independent

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