Rape suspect of female student on university campus in Belgium is Ivorian migrant previously convicted of beating homeless man to death

The Solbosch campus of ULB.
By Thomas Brooke
3 Min Read

The primary suspect in the rape of a 21-year-old bio-engineering student on the campus of a Belgian university on Dec. 28 has been confirmed as Yannick FD, a homeless man of Ivorian origin who was only released from prison in August after beating a fellow homeless man to death.

The rape in question occurred shortly after 8:45 p.m. on the Solbosch campus of the Free University of Brussels (ULB). According to an account from one of the victim’s relatives, as reported by the SudInfo news site, the young student was beaten and raped a few meters from the university laboratory buildings where she usually partakes in her studies.

The victim’s family believes the attack was premeditated, as the attacker grabbed the student walking on a path and “dragged her for several meters in total darkness” to a point outside the scope of the campus’ security cameras.

“The rape, extremely serious, particularly despicable and sordid, lasted for some time without any camera spotting the tragedy and without any ULB guard service intervening, despite the screams of the victim throughout the duration of the attack,” the victim’s family told the Belgian news outlet.

Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad reported the suspect is a 23-year-old homeless person of Ivorian nationality. According to Sarah Durant, the spokeswoman for Brussels’ public prosecutor, he was arrested by authorities on New Year’s Day and will appear in court on Jan. 6.

The suspect is already known to authorities after having been convicted of a brutal attack on a fellow homeless person in the Auderghem district of the Belgian capital. He beat the victim with an iron crowbar and doused him in acid which resulted in his death in the hospital a week later.

During his trial in August, the Belgian court ruled that the attack was not murder, but assault and battery resulting in death, so Yannick FD was sentenced to 30 months imprisonment. He was released shortly after the trial in August 2022 due to time served.

As a result of the rape, ULB announced that it would be reinforcing its surveillance capacity across the campus. “While the investigation is ongoing, we cannot provide any additional information,” added ULB spokeswoman Ophélie Boffa.

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