October 2019

Man tried to rape teen, 17, then ‘humiliates’ her in court as he wins right to stay in UK

A man who tried to rape a 17-year old girl then “humiliated” her in a courtroom as he won the right to stay in Britain has been jailed for six-and-a-half years.

Prince Saidi, 35, had moved to the UK from the Democratic Republic of Congo after fleeing the ongoing Kivu military conflict in 2015 and he later won ”indefinite leave to remain” or ”settled status” in this country.

But the father-of-three was arrested after he ambushed the teenager and then forced himself on her at a home in Ashton-under-Lyne, Greater Manchester.

The victim – a friend of Saidi’s estranged wife – was grabbed by the breasts before being dragged to the floor by Saidi who pulled off her clothing before trying to rape her.

She was initially reluctant to call police for fear of being shunned in her devoutly religious neighbourhood but subsequently learnt malicious rumours had been spread about her claiming she was an ”easy girl” who had sent explicit videos to Saidi.

He was also suspected of triggering a whispering campaign which besmirched the reputation of the girl’s family.

The teenager, who cannot be named, later had to testify against Saidi in a trial in which her underwear was held up in court and she had to be rushed to hospital from the witness box after suffering from stress related stomach pains. The court was told she now regularly considers taking her own life following the ordeal.

In a statement the girl, now 19, said: ”I will never ever forget what he did to me and I think about it all the time. I don’t think I will ever get over these feelings. He has destroyed my trust in people and my confidence and I have thought about killing myself.

”At times my own parents won’t let me sleep as they are frightened that I will kill myself so I am sharing a room with my sister so that she can watch me. I feel that Prince has taken my virginity from me. I did respect him so much in my culture but he had no respect for me and has told people in my community about what happened.

”Not only did he physically attack me but tried to destroy my family’s reputation. I know people are speaking very badly about me and my family have definitely felt the impact of this. I have also suffered physical injuries as a result of what Prince did to me.

”I was forced to give evidence and cross examined and it was one of the worst experience I have been through. I found the whole process upsetting and felt that I was the one on trial. My whole life was on public show and it was humiliating that my underwear was on show too.

”I had to go from the court to an ambulance as the pain was so bad in my abdomen. That pain was brought in by stress and upset of giving evidence. I don’t want Prince to do this again to any other girl and I am worried about seeing him at community events. The whole experience is something I will carry with me for the rest of my life.”

At Minshull Street Crown Court, Manchester, Saidi was convicted of attempted rape, sexual assault and assault after a trial. He denied wrongdoing but is expected to escape deportation back to his native Africa as the Congo is still in a state of conflict and is too dangerous for him to be sent back there.

The incident occurred in November 2017 after the girl had called at Saidi’s home to pick up a bottle of baby lotion for his estranged wife who had moved out of the family home.

The court heard the teenager was locked in the house before Saidi squeezed her breasts and molested her as she pleaded with him to stop. He then dragged her into the living room where he pulled down her clothing and removed his own trousers.

He stopped when she threatened to tell police and her parents and he apologised and ran her home. The girl confided in her uncle about the assault but was advised not to go to the police and said Saidi would be dealt with within the Congolese community. She made a formal complaint to police in June 2018 when she heard of the false rumours being circulated about her.

Prosecutor David Bentley said: ”The defendant dragged the complainant to the floor in the hallway then proceeded to stand on her legs.

“There was a further additional standing on her legs to restrain her to allow him to undo and lower his trousers to below the knee.

”The complainant was 17 at the time and was vulnerable within that property and the door was locked causing her difficulties from exiting at the time.

”An aggravating feature was the subsequent rumours in relation to the complainant and rumours suggesting she was ‘easy’ and that she had sent a naked video of herself to the defendant.

”The rumours were effectively suggesting she had initiated the behaviour on the day […] She as particularly vulnerable due to personal circumstances and was aged 17 at the time. She was not sexually active.”

In mitigation defence counsel Mark Fireman said: ”There’s no direct evidence that these rumours were spread by this defendant – it’s barber shop gossip which has been repeated. He was born in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo in a region subject to conflict. He ended up in a refugee camp and was taken to this country by representatives of government.

”He has a permanent resident status within the UK and has three children relatively young children with his former partner aged five, three and seven months old. He was respected within the community and what took place on November was an act of pure madness wholly out of character. He says saw signs that where misconstrued.

”He knows he must face a custodial sentence and will serve that sentence in a country not his own and first language not his own.”

Sentencing Judge Angela Nield told Saidi: ”You are a citizen of eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo who came to this country as a refugee. The victim had entered in order to collect some baby lotion and attended by the arrangement but unbeknown to her she was locked inside that house and you proceeded to treat her to a dreadful and terrifying experience.

”It was a number of months before she reported these matters as her uncle said he would try to sort matters out but his efforts came to nothing and she was then was subject to further distress by the fact she became aware of rumours within the community that she was an easy girl and there were rumours that she had sent videos to you.

”Whilst I accept no direct witnesses could say that you had started those rumours it is clear her parents did not find out about their daughter’s experience via her. This girl had not even been able to seek the comfort of her own mother to deal with the pain.

”Only with their intervention came the referral to the police and course of events that brought the case to this court and trial in which she was forced to go through the undoubtedly necessary but never the less traumatic experience of giving evidence and we have heard how badly she felt that experience to be.

”Anyone who has done that will know of the fear of apprehension and the difficulties of facing cross examination. It is all the more difficult when one is being asked about personal and intimate matters. When one is to speak in front of many strangers and have personal and private clothing viewed in open court, it all count towards the trauma she undoubtedly suffered in consequence of these matters.

”For this young woman this experience has had social consequences for her as well as psychological consequences. She has sustained a loss of trust in people and loss of confidence and had thoughts you have taken her virginity. She had thoughts of self harm – so much so that her parents have had to take protective action over her. Her family have been impacted due to them learning this shocking chain of events.”

Saidi will also have to sign the Sex Offender Register for life and was banned from contacting the girl under the terms of a restraining order. He is also banned from working with children or vulnerable adults when he is released from jail.