Man Jailed for 10 Years Following Liverpool City Centre Attack
A 25 year old male asylum seeker has this week been sentenced to 10 years in prison after being found guilty of rape.
City Centre Attack
Liverpool Crown Court heard how Eritrean born Mebrehtom Arbha followed his victim for around 10 minutes as she walked through Liverpool city centre after a night out in July last year. The victim spoke of how she could not find a taxi to flag down and so decided to walk the one and a half mile journey to her boyfriend’s house.
The court heard how the victim was seen on CCTV running past Crown Park, covering her head with her jacket to shield herself from the rain. Arbha is then spotted walking quickly and closely behind her. The victim was then confronted by Arbha and dragged off into a wooded area near a church.
In an attack that left the victim covered in dirt and with injuries to her back, the court was told how Arbha ripped her dress before raping her twice and ‘casually’ walking away. The victim then ran to her boyfriend’s house, where she told him of the attack.
Victim Impact Statement
In a victim impact statement, the 21 year old woman told of how she felt ‘ashamed, dirty and unclean’ following the attack. She told of how she was a devout Christian and a virgin before the attack, but she has been unable to attend Church in the months afterwards:
“I still have to come to terms that I am still a virgin and it’s still mine to give.
“Now I am getting tired of putting a brave face on when deep down I feel unsure that I will be fine.
“Going to church has always been in an important part of my life but since the attack I was not able to go to church for many months because I was angry at God and I was angry at myself for feeling this way.
“And the fear of contracting HIV was my worst nightmare.”
“I have lost any desire to do anything in my life.
“I didn’t want to share food or drink with anyone as I felt too dirty and thought they would be disgusted if I did.
“I wasn’t able to sleep alone for a long time and had to have the light on in my bedroom throughout every night.
“I feel terrified in the shower. I get the feeling that someone is going to get me and I start to panic.”
Crimewatch Appeal & Sentencing
Jurors heard how Arbha, who lived in Liverpool at the time of the attack, fled the city soon after and moved to Birmingham. He was arrested after a Crimewatch appeal was released in October last year.
Michael O’Brien, defending, told the court that Arbha had written a letter asking for forgiveness, which he read out to the court on the defendant’s behalf. It read:
“This was an un-Christian act and I did a horrible thing to this woman.
“I am very sorry for the crime I have committed and I ask for forgiveness.”
Arbha, who gained five year asylum to the UK in 2014, was forced to flee his native country after he was obliged to sign up to the Eritrean army aged 18. He has no previous convictions and spoke through a Tigrignan translator in court; through whom he expressed he had no memory of the attack as he was too intoxicated.
David Aubrey, QC, told Arbha:
“When you were above her, raping her, on a Sunday morning when she had been alone in the streets of our city, it is clear to this court that time stopped still for her.
“You watched her, you followed her and you pursued her and then pushed her and threatened her and you raped her before, somewhat chillingly, walked away calmly.
“I cannot ignore the tragic irony of this case that you attacked her next to a church.”
Mebrehtom Arbha was this week sentenced to 10 years in prison for the attack.
After sentencing, Terry Davies – Police Detective Inspector of Specialist UNITY rape investigation team – said:
“Rape is a very personal crime, which many victims, understandably, struggle to come to terms with.
“It can have a devastating effect for the rest of their lives and there is no doubt that this had had a significant impact on his young victim, who will now have to live with this for her life.”
Sexual Abuse – Expert Advice
Hampson Hughes Solicitors specialises in directing sexual abuse claims in a considerate and compassionate manner. Our Abuse & Criminal Injuries Department is headed by Greg Neill – Greg is a member of the Association of Child Abuse Lawyers (ACAL).
For an open and friendly conversation about your situation, and to find out how we can assist you relevant to your individual experience, call 0800 888 6 888 or email [email protected]
You will be given the direct-dial of your case handler, meaning that you will always be able to reach the person you need.
Source: Daily Mail