Sexual predator from Brierfield is jailed for four years

A “MENACING sexual predator” who targeted two women in a Burnley nightclub and molested a young mum he locked in his home is behind bars for four years.

Rasul Abdullah attacked the first two victims within minutes on the same night in Pharoah’s in November, 2011. He was bailed last December, and struck again in January after inviting the third woman, who had her baby with her in a pram, into his home and keeping her there against her will. He denied any indecent behaviour when questioned by police.

Burnley Crown Court had heard how Abdullah, an Iraqi national, still claimed he was innocent of the crimes, even though be was unanimously convicted by a jury, after a trial.

The defendant (31), of Cambridge Street, Brierfield, had been found guilty of assault by penetration and two counts of sexual assault. He was ordered to sign the sex offenders’ register for life and was given a 10-year sexual offences prevention order, banning him from entering or remaining anywhere licensed for the consumption of alcohol on the premises, between 11pm and 8am. The defendant, said to have infinite leave to remain in this country, had no previous convictions.

The court was told Abdullah put his hand up both the victims’ dresses in the club in the early hours, leaving them shocked and upset. The first woman had noticed the defendant staring at her from the dance floor. The second victim was able to identify him as he came out of the ladies’ toilets. Abdullah was arrested, but denied touching either of the women.

Mr Joe Boyd (prosecuting) said the third victim had spoken to Abdullah in passing on a couple of occasions and he invited her into his home as she passed his door. He then immediately locked her and the infant in, tried to get her to sit on his lap, grabbed her arms, tried to kiss her and then fondled her. The woman tried to push the defendant off and she escaped when he eventually unlocked the door.

The hearing was told that, after her ordeal, the first victim found her personality had changed. She became almost agoraphobic and afraid to go out with friends.

Mr Martin Hackett (for Abdullah) said: “I concede at the outset that clearly there has to be a custodial sentence. These were very unpleasant offences.” The barrister added the assault by penetration was a violation of the victim by the defendant. He added: “It’s something that will stay with her for a considerable period of time, I accept that.”

Sentencing, Recorder Nick Clarke told Abdullah he had listened to the trial with great care and had seen and heard the victims give evidence before the jury.

The judge continued: “I saw for myself the impact these offences had. I have no doubt you were a sexual predator who took opportunities to impose yourself on each of the three separate victims. At the time you were clearly out of control and were certainly a menace to the women you targeted.”

After the case, Detective Constable David Greenwood commended the “professionalism” shown by the staff of Pharoah’s on the night of the attacks. He said the manager, Shaun Grogan, detained Abdullah at the scene and held him until police arrived. The officer continued: “Without the involvement of the staff and their actions, the likelihood is this man may have gone untraced and unpunished.”