‘Vulnerable’ asylum seeker allegedly raped by detention officers at Yarl’s Wood

editorial image
0
Have your say

A vulnerable female asylum seeker detained at an immigration centre was raped and taken advantage of by officers employed to protect her, a court heard.

The Roma woman was challenging her deportation and allegedly feared reporting the abuse would “rock the boat”, affecting her ability to stay in the country.

All three of her alleged male abusers were employed by Serco and worked as detention officers at Yarl’s Wood Immigrantion Removal Centre in Bedfordshire.

Opening the case at Luton crown court on Tuesday, prosecutor Christopher Donnellan QC, said: “Each defendant took advantage of a female detainee in their charge.

“She was not a free person. It put her at a disadvantage and made her vulnerable just for that reason.

“This case is about the abuse of power. Detainees are vulnerable, they don’t have the freedom we have.

“Each defendant was employed by Serco in a public office. They are in a position of trust and they are accountable to us in how they carry out their duties.

“Each took advantage of a detainee in a sexual way to a different degree. She was hoping to challenge her deportation and was less likely to rock the boat.”

The first defendant Syed Hussain, 34, allegedly groomed the woman, aged 26, over seven or eight days.

Mr Donnellan, said: “He flirted and flattered her and kissed her and asked her how long since she had since sex.

“He coerced her into performing oral sex. It was a very serious breach of his public duty.”

The prosecutor said that on two occasions - the sexual assault and oral rape charge - she was not consenting.

“He made her suck his penis on November 29. That event triggered the complaint she made,” he said.

It was alleged that she thought the second officer, Bodrul Islam, 30, was single and saw him as caring.

Mr Donnellan added: “She believed she was in a relationship with him and they had a future together. There was kissing, sexual touching and oral sex on him. She agreed to what was happening.”

Mr Donnellan claimed the third defendant Thomas Redmond, 28, knew there was inappropriate behaviour going on but did not report it.

The woman confided in him and shortly afterwards when he had a legitimate reason to be in her room, he is said to have taken advantage of her.

The woman arrived at Yarl’s Wood Immigrantion Removal Centre from a prison in Manchester in August 2012.

She allegedly complained to a woman prison officer, but was told to ‘shut up’ or she would be sent back to prison and would get the officers into trouble.

She complained a few hours later to two other women officers and an investigation was launched by Serco and the U.K. Border Agency.

Mr Donnellan said the police were notified of the investigation, but a police investigation was not launched until August 2013 after the woman had been bailed from Yarl’s Wood.

Hussain, of Elstow, denies sexually assaulting the woman on September 25, 2012, orally raping her on November 29, 2012 and misconduct in a public office between September 9 and December 4, 2012 by kissing and sexually touching her.

Islam, 30, of Bedford, denies misconduct in a public office between November 15 and December 4, 2012 by kissing and sexually touching the same woman.

Redmond, 28, also of Bedford, also denies misconduct in a public officer between November 26 and November 29, 2012 by kissing the woman.

The trial, which is being held before Judge Philip Bartle QC and expected to last two weeks, continues.