On Air Now
The Capital Evening Show with Jimmy Hill 7pm - 10pm
25 March 2019, 17:13 | Updated: 25 March 2019, 18:26
24 year old sentenced to at least 18 years in prison for attempted murder and rape.
A "savage" rapist has been given a life sentence with a minimum of 18 years after shattering a woman's skull and leaving her for dead near a children's play park.
Cocaine user Zakarya Etarghi, who was on licence at the time after receiving a nine-year sentence for robbery in 2012, attacked a woman in her 50s hours before pleading with friends to get him on "a truck out of the country".
The victim was left with life-threatening injuries near the play park off Cedar Road, Leicester, just after 4.45am on August 3 last year.
In a statement read to the court on Monday, she described the attack as "like something out of a horror film".
Etarghi sent "incriminating" messages to his friends after the attack, including one which said: "I can just see it, today is the day I get nicked."
Other messages, sent to friends on WhatsApp, indicated he would have "handed myself in by now" if his "bro wasn't coming out", and that he was "looking at 10 to 20" - which the prosecution suggested was referring to the number of years in prison.
The defendant's trial was told that he searched the internet for "crime news" and paid "close attention" to the incident in Cedar Park.
He then fled 60 miles away to Stoke-on-Trent and "laid low" for a fortnight until his arrest.
His victim suffered massive facial trauma, a complex open skull fracture with bleeding to the brain, life-threatening low blood pressure, contusion to the left lung, spinal fractures and significant brain injuries.
DNA profiles obtained from blood on pieces of paper and cigarette packets in the defendant's flat matched the woman.
A jury of six men and six women convicted the 24-year-old defendant of attempted murder and rape after being told to "steel themselves" to hear the facts of the case.
Etarghi, of no fixed address, admitted he was in the park that night but denied both charges, claiming someone else must have been responsible.
Flanked by four dock officers at Leicester Crown Court on Monday, the defendant, wearing a white shirt and a black tie, showed no emotion and looked straight ahead as he was sentenced.
Jailing Etarghi for life, Judge Nicholas Dean QC said: "It is difficult to conceive of more serious offences of their type than the offences you were convicted of.
"This was also a most brutal sexual attack - savage is not too extreme a word to use of the sexual and physical violence used by you.
"The facts and circumstances of the events in the Cedar Road park would lead anyone to the conclusion that you were and are dangerous.
"You were responsible for controlled and extreme sexual brutality and physical violence of a most callous and horrifying type.
"Your efforts after the events to evade arrest and your lack of remorse for your actions suggest a man little troubled by his own capacity for brutal violence.
"It seems to me that you were being violent whilst you raped and sexually abused (the victim), and being violent not just to overpower her, but violent to gain sexual gratification."
Etarghi's previous convictions were read to the court, which included a series of class A drug offences, battery, assault and robbery.
In a statement read on her behalf by prosecutor William Harbage QC, the victim said: "What happened was like something out of a horror film.
"I think he's a horrible and disgusting human being because what he did goes beyond anything that I can speak of.
"I feel like I constantly need help and cannot live my life as independently as I once did.
"Sometimes I just sob to myself because it is so hard."
Describing her experience of the trial, the victim continued: "I had to walk out at one point because it all got too much.
"I could not stand the lies that were being said about me. I felt totally humiliated by the whole thing.
"Despite all this, I'm glad I came to court. I wanted justice and that is what I got. I wanted him to know that he can't make life any worse for me than he already has.
"I'm still here, I'm still alive and for that I'm grateful."