by, Chris Riches | Express UK
Eritrean-born Mebrehtom Abrha, 25, stalked the vulnerable virgin for 10 minutes as she walked through Liverpool city centre to her boyfriend’s house at 6am last July 19.
Liverpool Crown Court heard he dragged her off the pavement and into a grassy area before raping her twice in a harrowing four-minute ordeal.
The terrifying attack left the devout Christian “angry at God” and fearing she had contracted HIV, an appalled judge was told.
Abrha, who lived in Liverpool before fleeing to Birmingham, was arrested following a BBC Crimewatch appeal on October 12.
Today he started an extended sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment with a further five years on licence as his victim told the court: “I felt ashamed, dirty and unclean.
“Going to church has always been in an important part of my life but since the attack I was not able to go to church for many months.
“I was angry at God and I was angry at myself for feeling this way.”
The victim also admitted the attack caused her to end her relationship with her boyfriend, adding: “I have lost any desire to do anything in my life.
“I feel terrified in the shower. I get the feeling that someone is going to get me and I start to panic.”
The victim – who cannot be named for legal reasons – had been out clubbing on Saturday July 18 last year and agreed to meet her boyfriend the following morning.
Prosecutor David McLachlan told the court she could not get a taxi so opted to walk the mile-and-a-half route.
Despite warnings to not cut through the park from her boyfriend, she did – and was confronted by the East African man who dragged her off into a wooded area nearby.
He then subjected her to a horrific attack, ripping open her dress before raping her and “chillingly” walking away.
Afterwards the woman – covered in dirt and with injuries to her back and neck – ran to her boyfriend’s house and he raised the alarm.
Michael O’Brien, defending Abhra, read out part of a letter of apology from his client, which went: “This was an un-Christian act and I did a horrible thing to this woman. I ask for forgiveness.”
Ahbra was granted asylum for five years in June 2014 after claiming he was forced to flee his native country after being conscripted to the Eritrean army aged 18.
Ahbra, who has no previous convictions and spoke through a Tigrignan interpreter, claimed he had no memory of the attack as he was too inebriated.
Ahbra held his hand to his eyes as David Aubrey QC sentenced him before he made the sign of the cross as he was led down in to custody.
Judge Aubrey told him: “You watched her, you followed her, pursued her, threatened her and raped her before, somewhat chillingly, walking away calmly.
“I cannot ignore the tragic irony of this case that you attacked her next to a church.”
Afterwards Merseyside Police Det Insp Terry Davies said: “There is no doubt that this had had a significant impact on his young victim, who will now have to live with this for the rest of her life.”