A minicab driver has been commended by a judge for coming to the aid of a woman who was being attacked in an alleyway off Borough High Street.
20-year-old Husain Faiz of Catford was this week sentenced to a total of 15 years' imprisonment at Woolwich Crown Court. Faiz was also handed a four-year extended sentence due to the dangerous and violent nature of the offences.
He previously pleaded guilty to one count of attempted rape related to an attack in Chiswick and was found guilty of another attempted rape in Borough following a trial in early October.
Detectives have praised the actions of a minicab driver, who upon hearing the shouts of one of the victims as he was driving past, turned his car around and prevented the suspect from continuing his attack.
His deeds were also commended by Judge Katz, who awarded him £500 for his actions and bravery in foiling the Borough attack.
Faiz targeted his first victim – a 30-year-old woman – after following her home on a bus from central London to Chiswick in the early hours of Saturday 2 January.
Faiz boarded the bus at the same stop as the victim and then followed her as she alighted at her stop in Chiswick. Faiz followed the victim for a short while before he grabbed her around the neck and then attempted to rape her. In an attempt to stall the attack, the victim managed to persuade him to come with her to her flat but when they arrived, she shouted and screamed and managed to shut her door before Faiz was able to enter. He then ran off.
Detectives took on the investigation and from a combination of CCTV work and Oyster card analysis, identified a pattern of travel for the suspect. As a result of the enquiries, plain-clothes officers went to Honor Oak Railway Station on Thursday 7 January and identified Faiz on his way in to the station. He was arrested on suspicion of attempted rape.
He was found in possession of the Oyster Card used in the Chiswick attack, which actually belonged to a woman he knew who had recently passed away, and officers also found him in possession of a knife. DNA evidence also later linked Faiz to the victim's clothing.
Whilst officers were interviewing the suspect they linked him to another stranger attack near Borough High Street through similarities in the two attacks and descriptions of the suspect.
SOECA officers from Lewisham investigating this second attack, which happened only 24 hours after the first assault, were informed and Faiz's Oyster Card usage was checked immediately. Officers found the same card had been used on a bus near to the location of the second attack a short while after it happened.
The second incident happened at around 4am on Sunday 3 January as the victim – a 29-year-old woman – was walking along Borough High Street. She was grabbed by a man, who dragged her into Avon Place and began to sexually assault her.
However, a passing minicab driver heard her shouts and pulled up by the alley causing the suspect ran off. Both the descriptions of the suspect and the clothing he was wearing were almost identical to those given in the Chiswick case.
Faiz was further arrested for the incident in Borough and after officers checked the CCTV of the bus the Oyster card was used on, it showed Faiz in the same clothing as described by the victim and the same clothing he was wearing the night before.
Further local CCTV enquiries showed Faiz following the victim on foot shortly before she was dragged into the alleyway. Faiz was charged with both attempted rape offences and although he pleaded guilty to the offence in Chiswick, he denied carrying out the attack in Borough.
After a trial in October a jury unanimously found him guilty of both attacks.
Detective Inspector Kate Kieran said: "Faiz made two violent attempts to rape his victims, deliberately targeting them on their way home in the early hours of the morning.
"I would like to praise the courage and strength of the two victims – one of whom had the added ordeal of having to go through a trial.
"The actions of the minicab driver were also extremely brave and selfless and he prevented Faiz from carrying on with the attack and his evidence at court was key in getting Faiz convicted for the incident in Borough.
"I'd also like to praise the work of the detectives involved in both cases, who managed to quickly identify and arrest a man who was a clear danger to the public, but who was not previously known to police.
"Thanks to their swift and skilled work, a dangerous sexual offender has been identified and taken off the streets and I have little doubt their efforts have prevented further women from being targeted by Faiz."