Asylum-seeker who raped a woman in Wigan town centre is jailed for nine years

An asylum-seeker has been jailed for nine years for raping a drunken woman during a night out in Wigan.
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Ablolom Okbazge, 27, was put behind bars for exploiting the “paralytic” victim's condition to lure her to a fire escape before subjecting her to an hour-long sex ordeal.

At the time the Eritrean national had been a resident of the Britannia Hotel in Standish which had been housing asylum-seekers under a Government scheme.

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Bolton Crown Court heard that Okbazge's attack last Christmas occurred just weeks after allegations were made that asylum-seekers staying at the hotel had been harassing local schoolgirls by filming PE lessons at their high school causing parents to stopping their daughters from going out.

Ablolom OkbazgeAblolom Okbazge
Ablolom Okbazge
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Okbazge was convicted of rape after a trial in which jurors and the victim were condemned to watch CCTV footage which captured of the assault.

He is expected to be automatically deported when he is freed early in six years, but the court heard there could be delays if he fought the decision. It was not disclosed when he arrived in the UK and whether he had filed a claim for asylum.

The incident occurred on December 18 last year after the woman, who cannot be named, had been out on an all day pub crawl with friends.

The Britannia Hotel, Almond Brook Road, StandishThe Britannia Hotel, Almond Brook Road, Standish
The Britannia Hotel, Almond Brook Road, Standish
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By the early hours she had become separated from her friends and was said to be “paralytic” and “falling over” drunk.

Okbazge had been to visit a friend in Wigan and stayed on to have a drink in local bars.

He spotted the victim in a “heavily inebriated state” as he walked down the street and was seen to have changed direction to accost her.

He forced her to a staircase at the back of a pub where he repeatedly forced her into intercourse in different positions.

Ablolom Okbazge will be deported after serving his sentenceAblolom Okbazge will be deported after serving his sentence
Ablolom Okbazge will be deported after serving his sentence
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After the attack the pair went to a cab rank when she got a taxi. The taxi driver said she so was drunk she tried to pay her fare twice when she got home and later that day after a few hours sleep she told her sister she might have been sexually assaulted.

She mistakenly said she thought the attack occurred in an alleyway over just a few minutes.

In a statement read to the court, the victim said: "What happened to me will stay with me for the rest of my life. I am constantly breaking down crying regularly especially when I think about what happened.

"It always invades my day to day living and creeps into my mind at some point every day - no matter how hard I try to stop it.”

Bolton Crown CourtBolton Crown Court
Bolton Crown Court
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The court heard Okbazge was brought up in Eritrea and was said to have a “difficult childhood” after his father was killed when he was young. He left school at 13 and worked on a farm before coming to the UK.

Sentencing him Judge Tom Gilbart said Okbazge was responsible for “a brutal piece of criminality”.

He said: “Once you had encountered your victim, you were determined to achieve your aim. You used force to take advantage of her vulnerability and the court was required to watch footage of what happened on a number of occasions.

“The attack on that staircase was prolonged and sustained and you were with her for over an hour and stopped her getting away.

“It would have been obvious to anyone seeing this lone extremely drunken woman that she needed help - yet your reaction was to take her to a secluded spot where you used force to rape her in a prolonged and deeply unpleasant attack.”

Okbazge was also ordered to sign the Sex Offender Register. The asylum seekers were housed in the hotel under a scheme run by the Home Office and Serco.

Okbazge was given a nine-year jail termOkbazge was given a nine-year jail term
Okbazge was given a nine-year jail term

After the hearing Det Con Ray Williams of GMP’s Wigan division said: “This has been a very traumatic ordeal for the victim from the moment she was approached in the street and led into an alleyway by Ablolom Okbazge, right up to the present day. What Okbazge did that day is likely to affect the victim for the rest of her life and the trauma will not simply go away just because the court process has concluded.

“I would like to thank the victim for her resilience and bravery in reporting this incident to the police and giving us the opportunity to put a dangerous man in prison. I believe that because of her bravery, this has prevented the same thing happening to somebody else.

“It is my hope that the sentence handed to him today will provide both the victim and members of the community some comfort and reassurance that he will not be able to put another person through the same trauma that the victim experienced in the early hours of that day in December.

“Greater Manchester Police will not tolerate such predatory behaviour within the communities we serve. We want all members of our community, especially women and girls, to feel they are not at risk of harm when simply walking the streets of Greater Manchester and going about their daily lives.

“You may have noticed a high visibility presence during the night-time economy in various towns across the Greater Manchester Police force area. This is part of our renewed drive to make our communities safer, particularly for women and girls during the hours of darkness. We regularly have officers in uniform as well as plain clothed officers patrolling our town’s as well as the city centre who will identify and challenge predatory behaviour and deal with it accordingly.”