Man jailed for sexually assaulting neighbour while she was sleeping

‘My home is my sanctuary, I felt safe there and he has taken that away from me,’ victim says

Jonathan Kanengoni
Sunday 11 December 2022 21:41 GMT
Abel Mahari has been jailed
Abel Mahari has been jailed (Metropolitan Police)

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Louise Thomas

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A man has been jailed after breaking into his neighbour’s home and sexually assaulting her while she was sleeping in bed.

Abel Mahari, 35, broke into his neighbour’s home in Lambeth in September last year as the victim, who was in her 20s, slept.

Mahari had taken off his shoes and made his way through the property to her bedroom. The victim then woke up to discover she was being sexually assaulted. She managed to scream, causing Mahari to flee the property.

Whilst on the phone to police, she spotted Mahari outside her home and realised the man responsible for the assault was her neighbour.

During an investigation, police establish through CCTV that the suspect matched the description of the defendant, and forensic evidence pinned Mahari to the scene. He was then arrested and charged.

Mahari pleaded guilty to sexual assault by touching, then later tried to appeal his plea, which was denied by a judge at Inner London Crown Court. He was sentenced to four years and three months.

In the court, the victim recalled the ordeal and described the impact it had on her.

She said: “Someone coming into your house in the middle of the night and touching you in such an intimate way is something that you think will never happen to you. My home is my sanctuary, I felt safe there and he has taken that away from me.

“Obviously something like this can happen to anyone, but everyone genuinely believes that it will never happen to them.

“Once something like this happens to you, it makes you more paranoid, you then start to think that anything can happen to you and that is something that I now feel. It is a horrible way to view the world.

“It has only been in the last couple of weeks that my confidence is starting to improve and I am feeling slightly more comfortable to go outside and to live my life. Since this attack I didn’t want to go outside. I didn’t want any unwanted attention from any other people, I didn’t feel safe being out in the open.”

Detective sergeant Will Wigzell, from the serious sexual offences unit, said: “This was an incredibly traumatic incident for the victim, who has been committed to this investigation. I want to thank her for her time and support.

“The impact this incident has had on her is something she will carry for the rest of her life, but I hope this conviction and sentence goes some way to helping her on her road to recovery.

“I would encourage any victims of sexual assault to contact police. We have specially trained officers who are here to listen to you. This case shows our dedication to investigating sexual offences, ensuring that victims are heard and justice is delivered.”

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