Convicted rapist targeted large number of women in Dublin city centre

CourtsBy Sunday World
Faisal Ellahi
Faisal Ellahi

Rapist Faisal Ellahi, who has been sentenced to 13 years in prison for the rape of a young woman with Down Syndrome, targeted at least 16 women in the area where he lived.

Ellahi (34), with a previous address at South Circular Road, Dublin, had been out "prowling" the streets and was about to approach another woman when he encountered his victim.

Ellahi menacingly harassed countless women. Sixteen of them gave evidence during his trial at the Central Criminal Court in December.

The trial heard that he propositioned all of the women, and one punched him.

An 18-year-old woman testified that Ellahi had approached her and offered her wine and cigarettes.

He grabbed her arm and asked her if she would have sex with him for €200.

She told gardai she "kicked him in the b***s and punched him in the jaw" before running away.

Another woman told how Ellahi walked alongside her and asked her to come for a drink while "sucking his teeth" and "hissing".

She described him as "extremely persistent". On one occasion, he followed her up the steps of her home and tried to get in.

Another woman told of when she was parked waiting to collect someone and Ellahi stuck his head in the car window, saying: "Hello. It's hot. You're hot. Do you feel hot?"

On another occasion, gardai observing Ellahi in the days after the brutal sex attack had to intervene after they saw him follow two 15-year-old girls.

Speaking to the Herald, the husband of one of the witnesses said Ellahi was persistently harassing women in the area.

"He was on the street and tried to start conversations so initially she [his wife] thought he was just being friendly," he said.

"Then he would suddenly ask her in to his house and say, 'I have wine, I have alcohol. Don't go home'.

"She would be outside and he would always be asking her to come in.

"One night she was coming home. She got out of a taxi and he came across the road to her. Then he followed her up the steps to the front door and she had to close the door on his face.

"He didn't try and stop the door closing, but he was following her to come in with her. It was weird.

"That was the most extreme of them. Other times he was trying to get her into conversation. It was the same thing with our neighbours downstairs.

"It seemed to be a regular thing around here with him. It seemed to be a thing where he was on the streets trying to start conversations with people.

"I don't think there was an issue that he was violent with people or a fear that he was going to attack people.

"He came across as a bit of a weirdo. He was here for a year or so."

Ellahi could not remember how many women he had approached in this way, but he accepted that he did it a few times each day.

"There is no limit," he told gardai in an interview.

Ellahi is unlikely to ever set foot on the streets of Dublin again, with deportation to follow the completion of his sentence.

The court heard how the Pakistani-born former security guard dragged the young Down Syndrome woman into his home from the street after she became separated from her mother while out on a walk.

Mr Justice Tony Hunt, during sentencing, said Ellahi had been "prowling" the streets and was on the point of approaching another woman when his young, mentally-impaired victim fell into his path.

The trial heard that the victim told a specialist interviewer that Ellahi locked the door behind them and that she was afraid he was going to stab or kill her.

"I wanted to go home but he wouldn't let me," she said.

She added that at one point she panicked and started banging on the door screaming: "Help, mum, help."

Later that afternoon, the woman's mother was worried when she had not returned home soon after her as expected.

She was about to call gardai when she heard her daughter banging on her door and shouting: "Mum, mum, help, help, let me in."

Gardai were called and a massive investigation was launched.

Officers conducted inquiries in the area and put out a public appeal for information that led to several women coming forward to say they had recently been approached by Ellahi.

The victim was driven around the area and was able to point out the door of the property she had been dragged in to.

Officers spoke to everyone who lived in the building, including Ellahi, who denied any knowledge of the incident.

Over the following nights detectives kept watch outside Ellahi's home. One night they saw him leaving and speaking to two 15-year-old girls in the street.

When the girls walked away he began to follow them until officers intervened. He was arrested a week later and interviewed four times.

Evidence was heard that Ellahi came from a rural part of Pakistan which was subject to strict Islamic Sharia law.

When he first arrived in Ireland in search of work in 2005, he found it "quite jarring" to see couples holding hands or kissing on the street.

He did not have any contact with women for two years, but "as if a switch had flipped" he began going to nightclubs and bringing women home for sex.

Later, he began propositioning women on the street and started using prostitutes.

He told a psychologist who interviewed him that such activity was illegal in Pakistan, but in Ireland "anybody can ask anybody" and that he liked to "enjoy fun, enjoy sex".

The psychologist said Ellahi has an "elevated sexual preoccupation" and a low IQ which meant he had difficulty adapting to social norms.

But only so much of his activities can be attributed to the notion of cultural misunderstanding.

Other evidence suggested he was a depraved sexual predator who was unable to take no for an answer.