Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Wakefield rapist wanted jail English lessons

Yorkshire Evening Post

A Romanian ex-convict brutally raped a young woman in Wakefield because he wanted to be sent to a British jail to learn English.

Ali Majlat, 35, attacked the 21-year-old woman as she waited on a platform at Wakefield Kirkgate station.

He raped her in an underpass before robbing her of her mobile phone, purse and a bracelet at 8.30pm on Sunday October 12 last year, Leeds Crown Court heard.

The court heard after his arrest Majlat told a psychiatrist he decided to rape the woman because he wanted to go to jail where he would be fed, housed and be taught English.

Doctors ruled Majlat is not mentally ill.

Majlat raped the woman after traveling to Wakefield to visit his brother at the city's maximum security jail.

He fled to London but was arrested days later after a nationwide British Transport Police appeal.

The court heard Majlat said he entered the UK intending to visit his brother immediately after being released from a Romanian jail last June after serving time for theft and attempted robbery.

In September he was jailed for eight weeks by Horseferry Road magistrates in London for burglary.

Judge Alastair McCallum asked Majlat's defense counsel: "Is it right that he (Majlat] said 'When I was at the railway station I thought I should rape this lady in order to get a place to eat and sleep and learn the English language."

Mark McKone, for Majlat said: "He does say words similar to that." Mr McKone said his client had been sleeping rough for some time.

Judge McCallum said: "That's bizarre ... Is it going to be part of the mitigation that the reason for committing this offence was to get into an English jail so he had somewhere to sleep and learn the language?"

Mr McKone said it would not be a mitigating factor, but added: "It is the defendant's explanation."

Judge McCallum asked the Crown Prosecution Service to investigate Majlat's criminal history in Romania.

And he said he wanted to know if there was any procedures in place to alert customs officers to criminals like Majlat traveling to the UK from Romania under EEC regulations.

Majlat, of no fixed abode, had admitted rape and robbery.

He will be sentenced in April.

Judge McCallum said he was considering imposing a life sentence.

Det Supt Dave Shipperlee, of British Transport Police, said: "This was a violent and sustained attack on a young woman who must have been absolutely terrified.

"Police conducted an intensive investigation to catch the man responsible. I would like to reassure the public that incidents such as this are extremely rare on the railway network and also to thank everyone who came forward with information to help us in our investigation."

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