A failed asylum seeker and a member of a “hugger mugger” gang has been jailed for attempted rape of a woman in Canterbury who was only saved thanks to the intervention of three local men.Eighteen-year-old Moroccan Housny Boulaiz was convicted of kidnapping and sexual assault and sentenced to three and a half years’ imprisonment following a trial at Canterbury Crown Court, reports KentOnline.
Boulaiz, a known drug user whose asylum application was rejected by the Home Office, sexually assaulted the woman on 5 November 2016 before being stopped by three Canterbury men who heard her screaming.
One of the rescuers, Edd Withers, 30, was working for his cake delivery firm when he spotted the girl being dragged to a car park.
Mr. Withers and two other local men, Charlie Vanstone and Sam Eagleson, approached the Moroccan who then ran away.
“We went over there and he was literally in the process of assaulting the young woman,” Mr. Withers said. “He was lying on top of her and no one knows really what might have happened.”
“It’s frightening, but I’ve been in Canterbury 10 years now and nothing like this has ever happened to anyone I know,” he added.
The young woman had been celebrating Bonfire Night with her friends in the cathedral city, labelled as one of the safest university towns in the country, before she was kidnapped.
Judge Heather Norton described the failed asylum seeker of no fixed abode as “well-practised and predatory”. Sentencing him to serve his time at a young offender’s institute, she told the Moroccan: “It is likely at the end of your sentence you will be deported – but that’s not a matter for me.”
The judge then praised the good Samaritans and recommended they receive a High Sheriff’s Award for their actions.
Boulaiz, who came to the UK illegally in the back of a lorry at the age of 10, was previously part of a “hugger mugger” gang along with two other failed asylum seekers who robbed a Taiwanese student of her mobile phone in the city.
The migrant youth was convicted for robbery along with the other members of the gang, Moroccan Yassine Hamadoni and Algerian Adil Nazar.
Hamadoni, who was on bail at the time of the mugging, had previous convictions for burglary and 10 shoplifting offences. He was also convicted in 2016 of a sex offence in London.
Canterbury Crown Court is this month also hearing the case of four men of Afghani heritage, including an asylum seeker, who are accused of gang-raping a 16-year-old girl in Ramsgate.
Last week, founder and former leader of the English Defence League Tommy Robinson was arrested for contempt of court for allegedly filming the accused on the court’s steps.
The judge in the gang rape case is due to sum up proceedings early next week.