Life sentence for Leicester rape and attempted murder
A Leicester man has been sentenced to life in prison for the rape and attempted murder of a woman in a park in the city.
Zakarya Etarghi (24) sustained his victim to a brutal attack in the early hours of the morning of Friday 3 August 2018. He raped her and left her with life-threatening head injuries, including a shattered skull. He then left Leicester to try and evade detection in Stoke on Trent. The victim was discovered in the park and rushed to hospital.
He was charged with rape and attempted murder, tried at Leicester Crown Court and convicted of both offences on 6 March 2019. He was today (25 March) sentenced to life in prison with a minimum term of 18 years. He claimed in his defence that he had not had anything to do with the attack and had had a consensual sexual encounter with the victim shortly beforehand.
Matthew Thomas from the CPS said: “The task of the CPS in securing justice for the victim was to prove to a jury that Etarghi’s claims were lies. He, and only he, was responsible for the attack and there was no suggestion that the victim had consented to anything. We produced CCTV evidence that showed a man running away from the scene. We produced evidence of the victim’s blood on items in his flat and showed that his actions after the attack were those of someone trying to hide something significant. Despite this compelling evidence, he still lied about what he had done throughout the trial. The jury saw through his lies, with the evidence that we put before the court demonstrating that he is an extremely dangerous man.
“My thoughts are for the victim, and I have nothing but admiration for her courage and strength. She has survived an incredibly traumatic attack and is dealing with the life-changing impact of the injuries Etarghi inflicted on her. Although the attack left her with no memory of what happened, she has helped the police as much as she can and been in court to see justice done for her. I hope that seeing her attacker jailed will help her as she continues her recovery.”
Building the case
Zakarya Etarghi was arrested having fled Leicester to lie low in Stoke on Trent. He claimed he had not attacked the victim, but had been involved in a consensual sexual encounter with her. To prove attempted murder, the prosecution had to demonstrate that the physical attack was intended to kill, not just do the victim harm.
The CPS’s case was that the severity of the victim’s injuries demonstrated an intent to kill to silence the victim, so she would not identify Etarghi as the attacker. The extent of the injuries meant that the attacker would have been heavily bloodstained. CCTV evidence from nearby showed a man similar in looks to Etarghi running away from the scene. When his flat was searched, blood samples on pieces of paper and an empty cigarette packet were found that matched the victim’s DNA. Etarghi disposed of the clothes he had been wearing and refused to tell the police where they were.
Within five hours of the attack, he was searching for local news coverage of the attack and sending incriminating messages to friends on social media, implying that he had done something wrong. He subsequently changed his mobile phone and fled Leicester to stay in Stoke on Trent. The prosecution’s case was that these were all intended to avoid detection because he knew the extent of the crimes he had committed.
During the sentencing hearing, the CPS presented evidence that due to the high level of harm he caused and his lack of remorse, Zakarya Etarghi is extremely dangerous. The Judge agreed and has reflected that in the sentence handed down.