London: Bakhita House guest helps put serial sex offender In prison

St Josephine Bakhita, imagined at Bakhita House, by Mabel Symons

St Josephine Bakhita, imagined at Bakhita House, by Mabel Symons

A former guest at Caritas Bakhita House has helped to bring a serial sex offender to justice. Nurazzaman Shahin was sentenced to 31 years in prison at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Monday 23rd January having been found guilty of 22 offences.

As a young woman, the former guest, who we are calling “Sam” was targeted by Shahin via legitimate job platforms and applied for agency work at his advertised escorting business, Soulmate Escorts. When she arrived at Shahin’s offices for interview, she was ushered into a private room and raped. She was then forced into prostitution.

Sam reported Shahin to the police, along with another young lady in 2018, but unfortunately at this point the police took no further action. However, with support from Caritas Bakhita House and the Centre for Women’s Justice, Sam continued to fight for justice. It was not until 2021 that Shahin was finally prosecuted in connection with his repeat offending, by which time the Metropolitan Police had identified a number of his other victims.

In total Shahin was convicted of eight offences of rape against four different women, as well as several other sexual offences. He has also been convicted of controlling prostitution for his personal gain.

In her Sentencing Remarks, the Judge thanked all of the women who had testified against Shahin for their ‘enormous courage, dignity and determination’. She added that she wanted to apologise to all of them “on behalf of the criminal justice system” for the length of time that it had taken to bring Shahin to justice, noting that this had not only contributed to the suffering of the victims who came forward, but also enabled Shahin to rape more women. Later, she said to Sam that she was “truly sorry” for the police’s initial refusal to take this investigation forward.

Responding to the sentencing Sam said: “It was emotional for me. It was good to hear someone acknowledge the failings that happened here, and to reassure the victims in the room that there was nothing to be ashamed of. For any other women who come forward, you are most certainly not alone.”

The strength shown by Sam in testifying against Shahim during the eight week trial, is in part thanks to the support shown her by staff and volunteers at Caritas Bakhita House.

A longer version of this story, with more details of Shahim’s crimes, can be found HERE

Sam created this video of her time at Bakhita House, showing her journey from victim to survivor: www.youtube.com/watch?v=KCoZg0_8T_c

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