A man who prowled the streets of Pendle has been jailed for the rape of a woman after climbing through a window into her home last October.
Hungarian Zsolt Suhaj (26) of Barkerhouse Road, Nelson was handed a life sentence with a minimum term of 11 years today (Thursday) after previously being found guilty of the attack along with a number of trespass with intent to commit theft and sexual offences against women in Nelson and Barrowford over a four month period between May and August 2016.
During each of the crimes, Suhaj entered the victim’s homes through insecure windows and doors during the early hours of the morning. In most of the cases, he went into their bedrooms with the intent of subjecting them to sexual offences.
Judge Sara Dodd, sentencing at Burnley Crown Court, described Suhaj as "every woman's worst nightmare".
Suhaj had to be physically carried from the dock kicking and screaming by four officers during sentencing.
His most recent and serious crime happened on Sunday October 9th when he climbed through the window of a 66 year old woman’s house on Talbot Street in Colne at around 4-15am.
The victim had just finished a cup of tea in her kitchen and when she returned to her bedroom – which was in complete darkness - to go back to sleep, she was grabbed around the mouth and told not to scream. Suhaj then forced himself on top of her, pinning her down on her bed and tried to remove some of her clothing.
He then forced her to perform a sexual act on him. The victim pushed him away, ran into another room and turned on a light. Suhaj then tried to get out of the front door but it was locked.
He apologised to the woman, asking her not to tell the police. She opened the door and as Suhaj left, he stroked her face and again asked her not to tell the police.
A small knife belonging to Suhaj was found next to the victim’s bed.
DCI Gary Brooks from Lancashire’s Force Major Investigation Team said: “I am pleased with today’s result given the seriousness and sinister nature of Suhaj’s crimes.
“There is no doubt in my mind that he is a dangerous sexual predator whose behaviour escalated over the period of just few months, culminating in the rape of an innocent woman who should have been safe in her own home.
“Before that, he let himself into the homes of other women intent on sexually assaulting them for his own sickening gratification.”
Suhaj, originally from Hungary, had only been in Nelson since January 2016 having previously lived in Toronto, Canada, where he was convicted of similar offences in 2012.
See next week's next Leader Times Newspapers for more on this shocking story.