Man jailed for kidnap and sexual assault of injured woman

Sharif Abbas. Pic: Met Police

A man has been jailed for four years after he kidnapped and sexually assaulted a vulnerable young woman in central London.

Sharif Abbas, 31, of Haringey, was sentenced to four years’ imprisonment for sexual assault and four years for kidnap at Southwark Crown Court yesterday, with the sentences to be served concurrently.

Abbas was found guilty of kidnap and sexual assault on December 16 at the same court.

The court heard that at about 6am 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, suffering a head injury and a broken wrist.

She made her way to another platform where, suffering from a profusely bleeding head injury that exposed her skull, she sat down.

Abbas approached the young woman 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.

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When Abbas entered the building’s basement he had unknowingly triggered a silent alarm. Police attended 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 [LAS] to a west London hospital where she underwent surgery for a broken wrist and received treatment to a serious head injury. She has since made a full recovery from those injuries.

In interview Abbas was asked 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 stated that it did not occur to him as he was trying to help her.

Also in police interview, he claimed that he tried to call for an ambulance inside the Tube station but could not get a phone signal. He also stated that the victim had asked him not to call for an ambulance.

This was not the case and, in the 45 minutes they were together, he had his phone to his ear throughout, however no call to 999 was made nor did he administer any first aid.

He initially told officers he had just spoken to a man that 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 detectives that he carried it with him for use if he went running or in case he came across “an accident or something.”

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.

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 instil 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.”

Anyone who believes they have been a victim of a sexual offence is encouraged to contact police on 101.

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