Sheffield woman’s powerful words to rapist after enduring ‘every woman’s worst nightmare’
“You don’t know me, but you thought you were entitled to every single part of me."
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Dangerous ‘predator’ Abiola Tijani was forced to listen to the brave young woman he followed and then raped as she walked alone near to Sheffield city centre as she read out an incredibly powerful statement directed at him.
Cowardly Tijani may have kept his head in hands as she read the statement - and for much of the Sheffield Crown Court hearing - but there was no doubt he heard every single word she had to say about the horrific attack he subjected her to.
Speaking during a hearing held on November 9, 2023, the young woman told Tijani: “You don’t know me, but you thought you were entitled to every single part of me and that is why you are here today. On July 29, 2023, me and my friend went on a night out, something we did most weekends. We were celebrating completing our A-Levels, preparing for the next chapter in our lives.”
“We danced, and took photos, photos I can’t look at anymore…12 hours later, I would be at SARC (the Sexual Assault Referral Centre) having photos taken of what you did to me. I wore a pink dress that I bought specifically, a pink dress you decided to take off, a pink dress I have discarded, along with every other single thing I wore, because I can’t bear to look at them.
“I put my friend in a taxi to keep her safe, but it was me that needed to be kept safe from you.
"I have an amazing family, and I was brought up to be kind and polite. Which is why even when you followed me…I asked you to please leave me alone. Which is why when you grabbed my arm, and dragged me into a bush, I cried for you to please not hurt me. Which is why when you raped me I pleaded over and over again for you to please stop, but you didn’t.
"You told me it would be over soon. Well, this trauma will never be over. You told me that pretty girls don’t cry, well, humane people don’t rape.”
Judge Rachael Harrison described what happened to the complainant as ‘every woman’s worst nightmare’.
She continued: “To be followed, with the fear that causes. To be attacked, to be attacked and sexually violated on the street by a stranger.”
Prosecuting barrister, Ian Goldsack, told the court that Tijani carried out the attack close to the underpass at St Mary’s Gate, near to Sheffield city centre, after she changed paths in a bid to escape Tijani who had begun to follow her, and ignored her many requests for him to leave her alone.
Judge Harrison continued: “You raped her as she struggled and shouted at you, and bravely tried to video, but you noticed and grabbed her phone…I’ve listened to the audio recording [she was able to take] and she was clearly in significant distress.”
The court was told during a hearing held on November 9, 2023 how in addition to the recordings the complainant had made on her phone, she had also managed to make contact with a friend who was listening on the other end of the phone when the struggle began.
After raping the complainant, Tijani, of Cherry Street, Highfield, Sheffield, continued to follow her, and it was only when she saw a member of the public and shouted to them for help that he finally left her alone, and fled the scene.
“You ran away, that running away shows - in my judgement - that you knew exactly what you had done,” Judge Harrison told the court.
Mr Goldsack said the member of the public the complainant flagged down called the police, and she was, in due course, taken for a medical examination and to carry out a video interview.
Tijani was subsequently arrested on July 30, 2023, after he was seen on CCTV wearing the ‘same distinctive clothing’ he had been wearing on the night of the rape, when he was captured on closed-circuit cameras visiting venues including Viper Rooms and Dempseys.
Mr Goldsack said that when arrested, Tijani said: “I’ve done a wrong thing, and I need to go to prison.”
Tijani pleaded guilty to one count of rape at an earlier hearing.
Mr Goldsack said Tijani does not have any convictions in the UK, and added that the Crown has not received any response to requests concerning whether he has committed any criminal offences in Nigeria, his country of origin.
Defending, James Baird said he wished to make it ‘clear’ to the complainant that he did not wish to 'minimise' Tijani’s offending behaviour through his mitigation.
Mr Baird continued: “Having lost almost his entire family, Tijani came to this country on a student visa in January 2023. Whilst here, he’s led an isolated life, with few friends. The probation officer has observed that he has little in the way of life experience, and his approach to this young woman - I would submit - shows that.”
The court was told that the 'experienced' member of the probation service, who wrote Tijani's pre-sentence report, concluded that the rape he carried out was not 'impulsive,' but 'predatory and reckless'.
Before sentencing Tijani, Judge Harrison told the defendant to take his head out of his hands.
She noted that ‘no sentence I pass will undo the harm you caused or be considered adequate,’ and jailed him for eight years, three months, with an extended licence of four years, bringing the total to 12 years, three months.
Commenting on the continuing trauma Tijani has inflicted upon the complainant, Judge Harrison said: “It has affected her work, her sleep, her friendships, her sporting life, her social life and her mental health. She’s having to consider whether she can undertake the training course she had applied for when this attack happened because she is worried about how she will cope when she is away from her family.”
In her statement to the court, the complainant said she had always dreamt of becoming a police officer, because she had always wanted to keep the public safe from people like Tijani.