UK

Abdelkader El-Janabi And Alex Wilson-Fletcher Jailed Over Rape Of Boy In Debenhams Toilet

06/06/2013 21:02 BST | Updated 06/06/2013 21:08 BST

A former intelligence officer in Saddam Hussein's Iraqi regime has been jailed for 15 years along with a law firm worker for raping a teenage boy in the toilets of a city centre department store.

Abdelkader El-Janabi, 55, and Alex Wilson-Fletcher, 42, abducted their 14-year-old victim in Manchester's Arndale Centre on a busy Saturday afternoon last summer.

They marched him to the toilets of a nearby Debenhams store where the "sustained attack" on him took place.

abdelkader eljanabi

El-Janabi, 55 was sentenced to 15 years in prison

Wilson-Fletcher, of Oldham Street, Manchester, and El-Janabi, of Artillery Court, Ardwick, Manchester, were convicted by a jury of two counts of rape and two counts of sexual assault following a nine-day trial in April.

The pair were tracked down after images from CCTV were circulated around the UK by police.

Sentencing them at Manchester Crown Court today, Judge Michael Leeming QC told them: "In all probability, what you did to him in his formative years will stay with him.

"Neither of you thought of that at the time.

"You were more concerned with your own sexual gratification."

debenhams rape

Law firm worker Wilson-Fletcher

The judge heard the boy was heading home by himself in Manchester city centre on June 2 last year, when he decided to use the toilets in the Arndale Centre, despite being wary of public conveniences.

This is where El-Janabi grabbed the teenager by the arm and led him out with Wilson-Fletcher following.

The court heard the boy was told: "Come with us. Do what we say. If you try to run we'll get you."

The judge said: "(The victim) did not want to accompany either of you but he felt he had no choice."

He said El-Janabi knew the Debenhams toilets well and had been caught loitering there in the past by shop staff who had ejected him from the store.

El-Janabi was the one who physically raped the teenager, the court was told, but Wilson-Fletcher was convicted of taking part in a joint enterprise by the jury.

Judge Leeming told Wilson-Fletcher he was "at least a look-out" and encouraged the other defendant.

He said he did not see any distinction between the two men in terms of setting an appropriate prison term.

The court heard the boy was terrified that the pair would follow him once he broke free from them and he walked six and a half miles to a friend's house because he was too scared to get on a bus.

The judge also said he had read a impact statement from the young victim which described how he took an overdose of pills and alcohol a few months after the attack which was a "cry for help".

He said the teenager, who is now 15, suffers from depression and panic attacks and has difficulty sleeping.

The judge said the boy is receiving counselling and is expected to do so for some time.

He said the case was an illustration of how this kind of attack can lead to "long lasting psychological harm".

Neither of the defendants have any previous convictions and the judge described them as "mature, intelligent men".

He said El-Janabi had been an intelligence officer in Saddam's regime but was now a British citizen. He said he fought in the Iraqi army in both the Iran-Iraq War and the First Gulf War.

The court heard he has knee problems he claims was caused by American troops while he was a prisoner of war.

The jury rejected El-Janabi's claim he was in bed, suffering from knee problems, when the attack on the boy took place.

It also rejected Wilson-Fletcher's claim he was in the toilet at the time of the attack but had nothing to do with the incident.

The judge said Wilson-Fletcher had a good job in a Liverpool law firm at the time he was arrested.

The court heard both men continue to claim they are innocent and Judge Leeming said El-Janabi had not shown "any remorse, empathy or insight".

Jon Brown, the NSPCC's lead on tackling sexual abuse, said: "Predatory sex offenders like Alex Wilson-Fletcher and Abdelkader El-Janabi are every parent's worst nightmare and they are clearly very dangerous individuals, who conspired together to target a teenage boy before sexually abusing him.

"The NSPCC welcomes the sentences imposed today at Manchester Crown Court.

"The guilty verdicts and the length of the sentences in this case reflect the damaging nature of these appalling offences and the ruthless way these men treated their young victim for their own sexual gratification.

"This case is also an important reminder that boys and young men can also be victims of sexual offences."