Man who shattered woman's skull after raping her in a children's play park jailed for life

24-year-old Zakarya Etarghi attacked a woman in her 50s, at a public park in Leicester, East Midlands, after he went on a cocaine and alcohol binge


                            Man who shattered woman's skull after raping her in a children's play park jailed for life

"Savage" rapist Zakarya Etarghi has been served a life sentence with a minimum of 18 years in jail after shattering his victim's skull and leaving her for dead close to a children's play park. The 24-year-old man attacked a woman in her 50s at a public park in Leicester, East Midlands, after he went on a cocaine and alcohol binge. He was sentenced at the Leicester Crown Court on March 25 after he was convicted of rape and attempted murder on March 7.

Daily Mail reported that Etarghi left the woman with severe life-threatening injuries, from which she is still recovering, after the attack which took place on August 3 last year. The young man claimed that he and the victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had been drinking cider together and that he left her in the park unhurt.

Zakarya Etarghi (Source: Leicestershire Police)
Zakarya Etarghi (Source: Leicestershire Police)

Etarghi, a building site worker, attacked the "vulnerable" woman and left her with life-changing injuries that included a "shattered" skull and bleeding in the brain. A member of the public found the woman with the head injuries at the park following the "brutal" and "appalling" assault, according to prosecutor William Harbage QC.

The 24-year-old man fled the scene after the attack, which took place in Highfields, Leicester, and traveled 60 miles to Stoke-on-Trent where he lay hidden for two weeks.

In that time, Etarghi switched phones and sent messages on WhatsApp to friends that read: "I just can't see it, today's the day I get nicked", and "I'm looking at 10 to 20", which prosecutors said was a reference to how many years he thought he would be sentenced to. He was eventually found, arrested, and charged with rape and attempted murder.

In spite of all the evidence against him, the 24-year-old Sudan-born man denied all the offenses and said that someone else was responsible for the attack. The jury unanimously convicted the man after Leicestershire Police were able to recover his DNA from the scene.



 

Judge Nicholas Dean QC said that the victim had been "lucky to be alive" after she was "attacked in a most brutal way" when she met Etarghi in the playground. There was also more evidence to suggest that a weapon of some kind had been used in the attack.

He added: "It was only good fortune that led to her being found in the park by a passer-by. Had there been any more delay it is likely that she would have died. As it was, it is clear that her life hung by a thread for quite some time whilst she endured the extensive medical treatment required to save her life and to effect her, partial, recovery."

The judge also said that he had "no hesitation" in concluding that Etarghi was a "dangerous offender" who had been responsible for "controlled and extreme brutality and physical violence of a most callous and horrifying type".

People in the court heard that a resident had found her unconscious and naked from the waist down at around 4:40 am after the attack and that she was suffering from multiple injuries.



 

The woman was rushed to the hospital and "miraculously" survived after she underwent life-saving surgery. The victim is reportedly still recovering from the attack.

Speaking in a victim impact statement that was read out in court, the victim said: "If I could describe the last few months, I would say they have been hell. It is like something out of a horror film. It's like something you see on the news that happens to other people. I no longer feel safe walking to and from my home, especially late at night. I constantly worry something is going to happen."

Leicester Mercury was told by Detective Inspector Mark Sinski that there is little to no doubt that the woman would have died at the scene if she wasn't rushed to the hospital and received the extensive medical treatment.