Updated: Feb 26
A London private hire vehicle (PHV) driver described as a “dangerous opportunist who actively sought lone women” has been sentenced for the rape of two women in separate incidents.
Michael Mehari, 34, appeared at Inner London Crown Court on Thursday 23 February where he was sentenced for three counts of rape.
He was sentenced as follows to a total of 19 years imprisonment and four years on extended licence after being found guilty on three counts.
Mehari had previously been convicted following a trial at the same court on 15 December 2022.
The first attack took place on Sunday 29 December 2019. The victim, a woman in her 20s, on her way home from a night out, was hit on the head before being attacked on the street in the Kennington Park Road area.
The second attack took place in the early hours of 20 March 2022. The victim, a woman aged 20s, had booked a minicab via the Uber app to take her home from a night out. She got into Mehari’s car, believing it was her cab. She dozed off in the back of the vehicle and awoke to find Mehari attacking her. She confronted him, left the vehicle and reported the incident to transport staff at a nearby tube station who called police.
An investigation was launched and support was provided to the victim. Enquiries led to the arrest of Mehari. A DNA sample, taken in custody, linked him to both the 2019 and 2022 offences.
Detective Constable Tristan Jones of the Met’s Central South Command said: “Mehari is a dangerous opportunist who actively sought lone women.
"Identifying and apprehending those who commit violence against women and girls is a priority to which we are absolutely committed.
"I applaud the bravery of the victims in this case. I sincerely hope that the sentence handed to Mehari provides them with a degree of closure and a sense that justice has been done.
"I urge anyone who has been a victim of sexual assault to contact police or a support agency. Please don’t suffer in silence."