Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Algerian illegal immigrant, 28, who carried out a 10-day campaign of sex attacks on lone women on their doorsteps is jailed for eight years

  • Mehdi Midani, 28, attacked eight women over a 10-day period in October
  • He followed them home then groped them on doorstep in South London
  • Midani was caught after a public CCTV appeal was issued by police
  • He was convicted of sexual assault and common assault, and faces jail 
Guilty: Mehdi Midani has been jailed for eight years after assaulting a string of women in South London
Guilty: Mehdi Midani has been jailed for eight years after assaulting a string of women in South London
A serial sex attacker has been jailed for eight years after assaulting a string of women over a 10-day spree in South London just months after he arrived in the UK.

Algerian Mehdi Midani, 28, followed eight 'vulnerable' women as they walked home at night. 

The former mechanic conducted a campaign of 'terror' across the Brixton Hill and Clapham areas of the capital, even attacking four women in the space of just four hours.

He was handed a sentence of 10 years with eight to be served in jail, two on licence following his release.

Passing sentence Judge Nicholas Madge said: 'You moved from one offence in an evening to two in an evening to four in an evening.

'You waited, watched and followed women.'

Judge Madge said one victim turned to see Midani 'grinning' at her while another caught him 'ducking behind a car' as he followed her.

'All these offences were committed against lone women during a 10-day period.

'On each day that you assaulted women you travelled from North London to Brixton or Clapham and then returned to North London after carrying out the assault.' 

He added: 'The experience of this court is that sexual attacks on women by strangers in the street are rare. In that sense, London is a relatively safe city.

'However, courts will do all they can to keep it that way and to protect women by imposing long sentences upon anyone who attacks women, especially at night.'  

Midani was convicted of six counts of sexual assault and one count of common assault in April and pleaded guilty to a further count of sexual assault at Inner London Crown Court.

The court heard that he entered Britain via Ireland after leaving his native Algeria and that his immigration sentence is currently 'unknown' - but it is believed he may have entered illegally and the Home Office will seek his deportation once he has been sentenced.  

All of these women were vulnerable by nature of being alone. They were followed from areas that were busy into quiet, residential areas.

'Each of these women were targeted by this defendant as they emerged from tube stations.  
You moved from one offence in an evening to two in an evening to four in an evening. 'You waited, watched and followed women. 
Judge Nicholas Madge
'They were followed for some considerable distance as they made their way home but not attacked until they actually got to the doorstep.'

In one instance he 'forced his way into [the victim's] home and assaulted her in the hallway'.  

One woman said in an impact statement her 

privacy was invaded in a 'profoundly terrifying way' and that she now 'struggled to meet new friends'.

Another had a 'panic attack when a delivery man knocked on the door' while a further woman has stopped going to the gym before work as it is still dark. 

At 9pm on October 22 last year he followed a woman up the road in Brixton before touching her backside and reaching up her dress, prompting her to shout: 'What the f***, I don't know you!'  

Four days later he attacked two women in the space of an hour - he put his hand between a woman's leg then ran off, and later followed another victim home, dragged her to the floor and tried to kiss her. 

Two days later Midani attacked four women in a four-hour period.  

At 7.20pm Midani followed a 28-year-old woman as she walked home in Brixton, before grabbing her inside the communal hallway of her property and groping her breasts.  

Midani then carried out the common assault by grabbing a 29-year-old woman near her home at 9.24pm. 

At 10.20pm he pushed a 31-year-old woman into a block of flats and sexually assaulted her before running away, and an hour later put his hand up the skirt of a 32-year-old.

Three days later on October 31 Midani attacked a woman in the same area, slapping her on the buttocks before fleeing when she called for help. 

Detective Constable Tony Carr of the Metropolitan Police said: 'Midani caused enormous fear and distress to the local community as he carried out his spate of attacks, with four recorded in just one day. 

'A public appeal was crucial to our investigation and led to information being provided that quickly led to Midani's arrest.

'I would like to thank the local community for their support and help during our inquiry and hope they are reassured by the news that Midani has now been convicted and faces imprisonment.'

Three other men who were arrested during the Scotland Yard investigation were released without charge and told they will face no further action. 

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