UK: Illegal Migrant Jailed for Strangling, Sexually Assaulting Teenager

Thames Valley Police

An Algerian illegal migrant who entered Britain via France after hiding in the back of a lorry has been jailed for strangling and sexually assaulting a teenager.

Khaled Meridja was sentenced at Oxford Crown Court after being convicted of one count of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, two counts of sexual assault, and one count of attempted rape, the Oxford Mail reports.

“[Meridja] came upstairs and then he was trying to do stuff to me and I was [saying] ‘what the hell are you doing’ and I was trying to look for my phone,” recounted the migrant’s victim, who now suffers difficulty sleeping after being “forever changed” by that attack, during his trial.

“He was grabbing hold of my breasts and I [said] ‘what the hell are you doing, get off me’ and then he pushed me up against the wall,” she added.

“Then he was strangling me so much I could not breathe. He was just strangling me and I didn’t know what to do,” she said, telling jurors she thought she was “going to die”.

Describing the attack as a “determined attempt” to rape the unnamed teenager, who was sexually touched by Meridja while he strangled her and tried to pull down her trousers, sentencing judge Maria Lamb noted that “This incident only ended because she got away from you and not because you desisted.”

“She fled and fell down the stairs during the course of it… and was helped by a bus driver,” the judge recalled, adding that she commended “the public spiritedness and responsible [action] taken by the lady bus driver who helped a young woman clearly in distress.”

The migrant was only given a prison sentence of seven and a half years, however — and it is typically the case that criminals in England given so-called determinate sentences are automatically released on licence at the halfway point in their terms.

Criminals handed extended determinate sentences can be held in custody for longer — generally two-thirds of their sentence — but local court reports give no indication that Meridja received such a sentence.

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