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Somali jailed over sex assault attempt

Saturday, April 13, 2013

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A Somali national, who was granted asylum in the UK, has been jailed for four years for attempting to sexually assault a woman at knifepoint.

Belfast Crown Court heard that Abdi Osman, 24, met his soon-to-be-victim outside Thompson's nightclub in the city centre on 21 January, 2010 and after moaning about having nowhere to go, she told him he could sleep on the sofa of her apartment.

Prosecuting lawyer Kate McKay told the court how Osman made numerous advances towards the girl, telling her he "always wanted an Irish girl" but she told him she was not interested as she was a lesbian.

Ms McKay continued, saying that in spite of this, after the victim had gone to bed, Osman crept into her bedroom and tried again - but when she refused this time "he produced a knife."

A struggle ensued and eventually Osman was put out of the flat.

Police investigating the incident identified him from CCTV footage and managed to arrest him a week later just as he was about to board a flight to Luton.

Osman, originally from Somalia but with an address at the Cromwell Road in Belfast, was interviewed about the attack and denied it.

But, he later pleaded guilty to offences of false imprisonment and attempted sexual assault.

Defence QC Gavan Duffy told the court that Osman's background was very tragic in that his father and siblings were slaughtered in the civil unrest in his home country, but that other family members clubbed together to send him to the UK where he arrived in 2007 and was granted permanent asylum.

The offence, claimed the lawyer, was out of character for Osman who has been working in various jobs since coming to Belfast and has a clear criminal record.

Judge Corinne Philpott QC ordered Osman to spend a year in custody and the rest on supervised licence conditions, telling him the incident would have been a "very frightening experience" for his victim.

"She offered you somewhere to stay but that was all she was offering you," the judge told Osman adding that despite her clear boundaries, "you took it upon yourself to assume that because she was offering you somewhere to stay she would be interested in your advances."

As well as the jail term, Osman was ordered to sign the police sex offenders' register for an indefinite period.

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