x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Robber armed with knife denies trying to rape nine women

Sri Lankan chef claimed yesterday that he intended only to rob the women's homes because he needed money to supplement his low salary.

ABU DHABI // A chef charged with attempting to rape nine women in their homes claimed yesterday that he intended only to rob them because he needed money to supplement his low salary.

The man, BW, a Sri Lankan, has been charged with attempted rape, theft and robbery. He pleaded guilty to forcing himself inside the women's homes, armed with a knife, after posing as maintenance worker, but he denied attempted rape.

The accused, who worked as a chef for an Emirati family, confessed to carrying a kitchen knife with him to help commit the robberies.

BW was scheduled to attend the hearing on Monday but did not appear in court.

Three of the victims testified on Monday that the man had attempted to rape and rob them.

SA, from Indonesia, said the man knocked at her door just before she finished her morning prayers and told her he was an electrician. After he entered the house, she said, he checked several rooms before pulling out a knife from his pocket and asking her to go to the bedroom.

She said she managed to escape, then ran outside the house and screamed for help.

"He just asked me to go to the room and be quiet," SA said, answering the judge's question about whether the man asked her for anything specific.

During cross-examination by Chief Justice Saeed Abdul Baseer, SA said she only "suspected" BW had wanted to rape her.

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

"Maybe," she replied.

The Sri Lankan man, according to police, attempted to assault, rob and rape the nine women over the past two months and stole mobile phones and cash. The women, of various nationalities, lived in Al Zaafarana, Muroor and Khalidiya, among other areas.

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

NI, from Pakistan, said the man asked her to hand him some jewellery she was wearing after he entered the house.

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

Not all of the victims were heard by the court and NI said she wanted to drop her charges because she had to visit the Public Prosecution too many times. However, she insisted her evidence to prosecutors should be used, saying she would leave the matter to the court after the judge told her she would not be asked to return.

The justices will issue a verdict on Sunday.