'Predator' kidnapped and sexually assaulted injured Tube commuter, 19, after pretending to help
A 'predator' who kidnapped and sexually assaulted an injured Tube commuter after pretending to help her has been jailed for four years.
Sharif Abbas, 31, put on a hi-vis vest and pretended to assist the 19-year-old woman, who had fallen down some steps at Bond Street Tube station in London on 16 June, 2019.
He then dragged her off to a basement in a building which he had scouted out and sexually assaulted her.
But when Abbas entered the building’s basement he triggered a silent alarm and police rushed to the scene.
Officers burst in and found Abbas standing behind the victim with his hands under her clothing and the fly of his jeans undone.
He was convicted of kidnap and sexual assault in December 2021, following a trial at Southwark Crown Court.
He was sentenced on Friday to four years in prison.
The victim had fallen at about 6am as she walked from one platform to another, and suffered a broken wrist and a serious head injury.
Instead of calling the emergency services, he put on a Transport for London hi-vis jacket and told her to wait for him, while he scouted out the empty basement.
He returned to the woman and brought her to the basement, saying he needed to look at her injuries, but instead sexually assaulted her.
Abbas took her under a covered walkway where they were not visible to passers-by at street level, the court heard.
After police officers intervened, paramedics took the woman to a hospital in west London where she had surgery on her wrist and was treated for her serious head injury.
She has since made a full recovery, the Metropolitan Police said.
Abbas, from Haringey, north London, wore a hi-vis vest that he used previously when working on bus passenger surveys two years earlier, but at the time of the attack he was unemployed.
He claimed he carried it if he went running or in case he came across "an accident or something".
Sentencing Abbas, Judge Gregory Perrins said: "I have no doubt that had they [the police officer] not attended in that moment, you [Abbas] would have gone on to commit a more serious sexual assault."
As the trial took place during coronavirus restrictions, the victim had to fly back to the UK and quarantine in order to give evidence in court.
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Detective Constable Nigel Pacquette, the investigating officer from the Metropolitan Police's Central West Command Unit, said after the sentencing: “Abbas was travelling on the Tube network carrying a hi-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 instil fear in many women. We are working hard to remove offenders of this type from our streets."
DC Pacquette paid tribute to the victim's bravery.
“The young lady targeted by Abbas has been incredibly brave, determined and patient throughout this investigation and the court proceedings," he said.
“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."