A DEPRAVED man who targeted prostitutes in Coventry by attacking, sexually assaulting and trying to rob them has been branded a danger to woman, and to sex workers in particular.
Andit Tekelemariam had been found guilty after a trial at which his victims came forward to give evidence of two offences of sexual assault and one of attempted robbery.
And after Tekelemariam (28) of Dane Road, Barras Heath, Coventry, was jailed by a judge at Warwick Crown Court, the police officer who led the investigation praised his victims’ bravery.
Tekelemarian, who had admitted assaulting another sex worker after her blood was found on his shoes, was given a seven-year prison sentence with an extended period on licence, after the judge found he poses a danger to sex workers.
He will have to serve at least two-thirds of the prison term before the Parole Board will even consider his release, and he will only be freed before serving the whole sentence if it is considered safe – and will then be on licence for the rest of the period and for a further five years.
Prosecutor Angus Robertson said Tekelemariam first struck in December 2016 when he approached a sex worker in Hillfields, Coventry, by circling her on his bicycle with cash in his hand.
They walked to an industrial estate where she handed him a condom and, because of the way he was acting, told him to ‘do the business or go away.’
When he made no response, she turned to leave, but he then grabbed her, and, having exposed himself, tried to pull her trousers down, but let go when she screamed.
In July 2017 he approached another Hillfields sex worker and gave her the £20 she asked for, and on the industrial estate he put on the condom she gave him and they began to have sex.
But he then removed it, and when she made it plain she would not have unprotected sex with him, he grabbed her handbag and began punching her ‘with some force’ as he tried to pull it from her grasp before she managed to get away.
In April last year he approached a woman in Vauxhall Street at 2.30am, asking for sex, but she told him to leave her alone and continued walking towards a nearby park.
He ran after her, knocked her to the ground and savagely punched and kicked her to the face and tried to pull her trousers down before she managed to get up and run off, screaming for help.
Some people went to her assistance, and the police were contacted, and she was driven round the area before pointing out Tekelemariam who was arrested.
But he claimed they had agreed a price of £10, and that she had then asked for more, so he had demanded his money back.
He was granted bail, and in July last year another sex worker saw Tekelemariam, who she recognised following a previous incident when he had grabbed her breasts.
He attacked her, grabbing her hair and punching her to face, knocking her to the ground where he kicked her repeatedly to the face ‘with full force.’
Three days later he went to the police station voluntarily and denied assaulting her – but when officers searched his home they found a pair of trainers with the woman’s blood on them.
Recorder Gareth Evans QC said that Tekelemariam, who had a previous conviction for violence towards a woman, posed ‘a danger to sex workers.’
He remarked: “I take the view that the attack in the park was akin to an attempted rape. This was a determined effort to cause harm and to have sex with this woman.”
Sophie Murray, defending, said Tekelemariam, who was from Eritrea, had been in this country for nearly five years, having arrived on a visa with leave to remain – and she suggested the offences had been opportunistic rather than planned.
Recorder Evans told Tekelemariam: “You started to use the services of sex workers. I am not criticising you for that, but the way you treated them was criminal. You attacked them, you stole from them, and you humiliated them.”
Of the incident in the park, he told him: “You are a man who is determined to have his way, you are unable to control your strong sexual urges.
“I have no doubt you have an attitude that sex workers can be treated almost as sub-human people.
“..You have an ingrained attitude towards sex workers, and you pose a danger towards them.
“To protect them and other women who find themselves in a similar position, I pass an extended sentence, but the probability is you will be deported after serving the custodial period.”
After the hearing Det Sgt Sherrie Kimberley praised the four women whose co-operation with the investigation and evidence helped to convict Tekelemariam.
DS Kimberley, the neighbourhood sergeant for Hillfields, said: “If it was not for the bravery of these women, we would not be here today, and this dangerous man would still be on the streets to attack other women.
“To them, I would say ‘Thank you for having trust in us to bring him to justice.’
“I hope this will give other sex workers in Coventry the confidence in the police to come forward in the future if they are the victims of crime.”