A man has been jailed for carrying out a series of sexual assaults on lone women in a Paddington underpass.
Hasan Mhd Fayez Alkhabbaz, 22 (04.03.95), of Fonthill Road, N4, pleaded guilty to six counts of sexual assault on Tuesday, 12 September at Southwark Crown Court.
He was sentenced at the same court on Friday, 10 November to 16 months imprisonment.
PC Jonny Wise, of Westminster CID, who led the investigation, said: "Alkhabbaz is a sexual predator who carried out a series of premeditated and predatory sexual assaults on lone women simply going about their daily lives.
“Alkhabbaz has shown complete disregard to the women he assaulted and the fact he offended in daylight hours in a public place, clearly shows the danger he is to society. “The effect of his actions on the victims has been severe and lasting. I hope this sentence serves as some comfort to these women and reassures the communities of London, that all allegations of sexual offences will be investigated to the highest standards of the Metropolitan Police Service."
Officers from Westminster CID launched an investigation after 10 women reported being sexually assaulted in the Joe Strummer Subway between October 2016 and March 2017.
This is a series of pedestrian only underpasses that run under the Edgware Road, the A40 flyover and Marylebone Road.
All the women were alone at the time of the assaults, which took place in daylight hours.
The women - who were all aged between 19 and 29 years old - described being approached from behind by a man, described as of Arabic appearance, around 5ft 8ins tall and wearing casual clothing. He would then violently grope them before waiting to be confronted and then running back into the subway.
Officers treated the offences as a linked series and carried out extensive CCTV enquiries. Three sources of footage, each from different offence dates, showed a suspect matching the descriptions provided acting suspiciously in the offence locations.
Based upon the offending times, an operation was set up to post plain clothes officers in the vicinity.
On Tuesday, 7 March, Alkhabbaz was stopped by officers in the vicinity of the Joe Strummer Subway and was arrested on suspicion of sexual assault. Items of his clothing, his mobile phone and Oyster card were all seized, along with clothing from his address.
Three victims undertook urgent identity viewings, with one positive identification made.
Alkhabbaz was initially charged with one count of sexual assault on Wednesday, 8 March and was remanded in custody for trial on Monday, 24 April. He was bailed pending further enquiries with regards to nine other offences.
Officers carried out extensive mobile phone and Oyster card analysis which placed Alkhabbaz in close proximity to the scene for the majority of the offences. Several more ID viewings by the victims resulted in another positive identification.
Items of clothing seized from Alkhabbaz matched the descriptions of the suspect provided by the victims, including a distinctive pair of shoes that he was wearing at the time he was arrested.
Having spent over two months on remand for the first charge of sexual assault, Alkhabbaz was convicted on Monday, 24 April at Hammersmith Magistrates’ Court, where in May 2017 he was sentenced to a 22-week sentence suspended for 24 months, a 60-day probation order and placed on the Sex Offenders Register to be managed by officers from Islington.
In July 2017 the Crown Prosecution Service authorised a further six charges of sexual assault and Alkhabbaz was summonsed to Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Monday, 14 August, where he pleaded not guilty to all charges.
The court granted Alkhabbaz bail with conditions not to apply for any international travel documentation and an exclusion zone from where the offences were committed. Alkhabbaz was told to appear at Southwark Crown Court on Tuesday, 12 September.
However, on Friday, 8 September, Alkhabbaz was stopped at Heathrow Airport trying to board a plane to Egypt. He had a Syrian passport that had been issued on Monday, 21 August, some seven days after he was granted conditional bail. Alkhabbaz was arrested for breach of court bail and remanded in custody until his hearing.
It was clear that Alkhabbaz was trying to flee the country in order to avoid prosecution.
Alkhabbaz pleaded guilty to all six charges of sexual assault at Southwark Crown Court, where he was remanded in custody.
Three other offences were discontinued due to insufficient evidence to proceed.