AN “EXTREMELY VIOLENT” rapist who roamed the UK on trains looking for victims has been locked up for life today.
Temesgen Desta, 32, trussed up and attacked a woman in Birmingham just hours after strangling a businesswoman on a Merseyside beach.
A massive manhunt was launched for the Ethiopian refugee in March as police warned that he was travelling up and down the rail network to select his targets.
Desta, who came to the UK in 2017, was caught trying to board a ferry from western Scotland to Belfast.
A court today heard how he was jailed last year for racially abusing security staff while possessing a knife but avoided deportation.
During the rape trial, Desta pleaded with the judge that he was a “lawful refugee” and begged for mercy.
Desta was found of guilty of rape, intention to rape and two counts of false imprisonment and will serve a minimum of ten years.
Married Desta tied up one terrified victim in Birmingham in the early hours of March 15 after travelling by train from Liverpool, via Stafford.
He had attempted to rape another woman in Crosby, Merseyside, ten hours earlier.
Desta forced his way into the woman’s city apartment after working out she lived alone, grabbed her by the throat and forced her onto a bed, claiming he was carrying a knife.
After his vile attack, he bound her hands with a cord from a bathrobe, tied her legs with a phone cord charger and tried to barricade her door with a chair before escaping.
She managed to break free after 45 minutes and fled to a concierge with her hands still tied.
You are a violent predatory rapist. You attacked two women in different cities in this county in about eight hours
Judge Melbourne Inman
Sentencing him, Judge Melbourne Inman, QC, said: “You are a violent predatory rapist.
“You attacked two women in different cities in this county in about eight hours.”
Describing how both victims felt they were going to be killed, the judge added: “These were determined attacks with extreme violence on two women in two different parts of the country within a matter of hours.
“You have no remorse, you have no insight into your offending. The nature of the attacks are such that a dangerous finding is inevitable.
“There is no alternative sentence that would provide protection to the public and therefore this court must impose a sentence of life imprisonment.”
The judge added: “What your position is in relation to this country and your status is not a matter to me.”
A victim impact statement read out in court said the businesswoman was forced to live in hotels following the attack.
She said: “I couldn’t imagine going to sleep in the same bed and answering the same door.
‘A DANGER TO WOMEN’
“One of the scariest things was when the postman delivered the mail because it involved him pushing it through the gap through the door.
“It felt like someone was breaking in and it caused me to have severe breakdowns.”
In Crosby, near Liverpool, his first victim told how she feared dying when Desta tried to strangle her as she walked in sand dunes.
She added: “My life has been turned upside down.
“If I look up at the clouds I remember that day looking up at the sky thinking I was going to die.”
Desta, of no fixed address, denied the offence and said: “I am a lawful refugee in the United Kingdom. I am tortured in a very painful way. I ask to be given fair judgement. I am not a bad person.
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“I’m not a criminal. I’m a lawful refugee in this country and I claimed asylum because of the bad politics and relationship I have with my birth country.
But Judge Inman said his claims were “outlandish” and that Desta was “clearly a danger to women”.
He said: “You’ve shown no remorse for these crimes.”