Asylum seeker spared jail for sex attack on woman with learning disability in graveyard

The victim says she is now scared to walk to the store in her own neighborhood and wears clothing that covers her body after the harrowing sexual assault

editor: John Cody
author: Remix News Staff

An asylum seeker has been spared jail in the United Kingdom despite admitting guilt to a heinous sexual assault on a victim with learning disabilities in a churchyard.

Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court heard how Jeyhun Zeynalov, 34, originally from Azerbaijan, met his victim as she went out to buy candy from a local shop in the Shelton area of the city back in the summer of 2017, before leading her to the grounds of a local church and assaulting her despite her protestations.

The court heard how father-of-three Zeynalov pulled down his victim’s top and began licking her breasts. When he attempted to unzip her jeans, she fled the scene and went home to tell her mother.

Zeynalov initially pleaded not guilty to the sexual assault, claiming it was consensual. He only entered a guilty plea in March 2021.

Ben Lawrence, the prosecutor, told the court: “It would be clear to anyone that she had a learning disability. She went out to a local shop to buy some sweets. 

“As she was walking towards the shop, he seemed to be waiting for her. She said he was ‘chatting her up’. He asked her if she wanted to go out for a drink. She said ‘no’, and that she was going to go home.”

The court heard how Zeynalov waited for his victim and began hassling her again as she exited the shop to return home. He then pulled her into the grounds of the St. Mark’s Church.

“She was frightened and went where he directed her,” prosecuting counsel told the court. “He began touching her, and she said ‘no’ — he pulled down her top and licked her breasts.

“He tried to kiss her and she turned her head away. He tried to lower the zip on her jeans,” at which point the victim fled to return home.

The victim told the court in an impact statement that she feels anxious about walking to the shop since the attack.

“I am worried about being around strange men in the street. After what happened my mother is very worried about me. You don’t know who is going to be about.

“I am glad that I don’t have to think about this anymore. When I go out, I like to wear something that covers me up,” she added.

In mitigation, Zeynalov’s lawyer explained how the attack was a “one-off offense.”

“He is an asylum-seeker from Azerbaijan — he was a journalist and criticized the party in power. He now receives £198 a week.

“He has three children and has been married for 13 years and has had recent difficulties with his wife and they are now living separately,” his defense attorney explained.

Zeynalov was handed ten month custodial sentence, suspended for 18 months, meaning he could walk free from court after the hearing.

In addition, he was ordered to undergo treatment for alcohol abuse for six months, is required to complete 120 hours of unpaid work, and will be a registered sex offender for 10 years.

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