x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Prison for chef who preyed on lone women

Abu Dhabi court sentences man to 21 months in prison after he used a kitchen knife to assault nine women in the space of two months.

Abu Dhabi // A chef was jailed for 21 months yesterday for preying on a string of women in their homes while their husbands were out at work.

BW, a Sri Lankan chef working for an Emirati family, was arrested last month and charged with attempted rape, robbery and theft.

The Abu Dhabi Criminal Court of First Instance sentenced him yesterday to three months in jail for each of six robberies. Three other women made similar allegations, but did not press charges.

He was found guilty of attempting to rape only one of the women, for which he was sentenced to an additional three months.

At a hearing last week, he denied attempted rape, but admitted the robbery charges. He told the court he needed the money to supplement his low salary.

Three women told the court he had posed as a maintenance worker to gain entry to their houses, then tried to rob them.

Only one, however, was able to say for sure that he had also tried to rape her.

Under cross-examination by Chief Justice Saeed Abdul Baseer, one of the victims - identified as SA, from Indonesia - conceded that she only suspected he wanted to rape her.

She said the man had knocked at her front door just before she finished her morning prayers and told her he was an electrician.

Once inside, she said, he checked the rooms before pulling a knife from under his clothes and telling her to go to the bedroom. She said she managed to run outside and scream for help.

Asked whether the man had asked her for anything specific, she said: "He just asked me to go to the room and be quiet."

"Is it possible, in your opinion, that his intention was only robbery?" the chief justice asked.

"Maybe," she replied.

NI, a Pakistani woman, said he had posed as a maintenance worker. As soon as he entered her house, he told her to give him some jewellery she was wearing.

"I pushed him and he fell on the floor," she told the court. "Then, he pulled out a knife from his pocket and I ran outside. I screamed and he ran away."

NI told the court that she had asked the Public Prosecution to drop the case because she had been summoned to court too many times.

However, she stuck by her previous testimony. The chief justice told her she did not need to return again and asked her if she would insist on not pressing charges. She replied that she would leave it to the court to decide.

Police said the man used a kitchen knife and posed as a maintenance worker to assault nine women in the past two months, and that he stole mobile phones and cash.

The women, of various nationalities, live at Al Zaafarana, Muroor and Khalidiya, among other areas.

Police said the assaults took place during the early afternoons when children were in schools and husbands were at work.

hhassan@thenational.ae