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Elephant and Castle sex attacker sentenced

A man who pleaded guilty to the attempted rape of an unknown woman in an Elephant and Castle subway has been sentenced to treatment at a hospital under the Mental Health Act

Farhan Osman, 27, was seen on CCTV attacking the woman on 28 March at approximately 3.30am as she walked through the subway under New Kent Road.

Security staff monitoring the cameras alerted police who rushed to the scene. Osman was arrested and taken to a local police station.

The victim left the scene, in the direction of London Bridge, and despite a widespread appeal, police have been unable to locate her. She was white and aged in her late 20s or early 30s, of medium build and with brown hair (possibly tied up). She was wearing dark clothing, ankle boots and was carrying a bag or rucksack.

CCTV footage from the scene revealed clear pictures of the attack taking place. Osman pleaded guilty when he appeared at the Inner London Crown Court on Newington Causeway on 14 June 2005. The case was adjourned for sentencing.

The investigation was carried out by the Southwark Sapphire Team.

DI Gary Pankhurst from Southwark's Sapphire team, dedicated to the investigation of rape and victim care, said: "The case demonstrates that where there is clear evidence, we will bring to justice anyone who has carried out a sexual assault. No-one should be set upon in this way and made to feel they are in danger when walking in London.

"Credit must go to the Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre security staff who alerted us so promptly, enabling the police response team to get to the scene without delay.

"We are still urging the victim to come forward so that we can arrange suitable counselling for her."

Osman, who lives in Borough and is originally from Somalia, is believed to suffer from a form of schizophrenia. He is subject to a restriction order without limit of time.

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