A 20-year-old man has been convicted of attempting to rape a woman in Merton

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A 20-year-old man has been convicted of attempting to rape a woman in Merton.

Khaled Argoub, 20 of Garratt Terrace, SW17, appeared at Kingston Crown Court on Friday, 21 February, where he was convicted of seven offences:

– two counts of attempted rape
– attempt to choke/suffocate/strangle with intent to commit indictable offence
– sexual assault by penetration
– three counts of sexual assault.

It took the jury less than two hours to find him guilty of all offences.

He will be sentenced at the same court on Tuesday, 31 March.

During the trial, which started on Monday, 17 February, the court heard the victim, aged in her 20s, was heading home after a night out with her friends.

She boarded the night tube and was followed by Argoub.

After she exited the tube in Colliers Wood at about 3.30am, Argoub ran towards her and dragged her into Wandle Park.

He put his arm around her neck, choking her, before attempting to rape her twice. He also sexually assaulted her.

The victim eventually managed to escape and ran to a nearby block of flats pleading for help. Officers were called and arrived within five minutes.

The victim was taken to hospital where she had significant cuts and scratches to her body and reddening to her neck. Her voice was hoarse from the strangulation, resulting in her struggling to speak.

A number of officers were involved in the immediate area search for the suspect, with the assistance of air support and specialist dog unit, however there was no trace of the defendant.

A detailed search of the crime scene resulted in officers recovering a baseball cap with a ‘B’ logo on the front.

Officers from the Met’s South West Safeguarding Team began an investigation.

A trawl of CCTV trawl identified a male fitting Argoub’s description following the victim and filming her as she exited the tube station. He was wearing the baseball cap with the ‘B’ logo found at the scene of the crime.

Forensic trace evidence from the victim also matched the DNA profile of Argoub.

He was arrested at 12.45am on 24 August, 2019 and charged later the same day with the offences listed above.

Detective Inspector Rachael Samuel, the senior investigating officer, said: “I would like to praise the bravery of the victim. She has been through an horrific ordeal, but has shown a strength of character and a commitment to assist police with this investigation, which highlights her exceptional courage. I would also like to thank the victim’s family, for their support throughout the investigation.

“I would also like to thank Detective Constable Faye Castleman and the investigation team who have worked tirelessly to bring this suspect to justice. I would encourage all victims of sexual violence to contact police, so that we may continue our vital work in ensuring that offenders of such abhorrent crimes are brought to justice”.