A man who bit a woman’s hands and threatened to rape her in a terrifying harassment campaign has been spared jail.
Hassan Ali, 34, had followed the victim to her workplace in Ilford, east London, on 6 March 2020 after she refused to answer his calls.
He then assaulted her, snatching her phone away, hitting her face, scratching her arm, and biting her hands, jurors were told.
Ali, of East Ham, east London, was given eight months suspended for two years at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Wednesday after the judge said he had a better chance of rehabilitation outside of prison.
He was found guilty of two assaults and harassment at a trial at the same court on 10 June 2022.
The court heard how the victim called her husband for help, which caused Ali to flee, but he later returned saying he was armed with a knife.
Disturbing Incident Involving a Woman’s Hands and Sexual Violence
When the victim eventually got her phone back, she could tell Ali had been trying to look through her contacts.
On 11 March 2020, the court heard how Ali followed the woman home, tried to take hold of her arm, and pushed her.
Prosecuting Mr Carey said: “When he was told no, he said, ‘If you do not come, I will come and rape you in your address’… He [then] grabbed her hair and slapped her face.”
Ali had used the threat of suicide to try and control his victim, sending a photo of a knife with a cut on his wrist, a jury heard.
Mr Carey said: “She said she was scared and did not know what he was capable of, and feared going to the shops.
“He had threatened to kill himself if she did not marry him.”
Judge Spares Man Jail Sentence for Vicious Attack
Judge Peter recalled the victim’s testimony, adding: “I saw [her] give evidence, and I remember how upsetting she found it and how humiliating it was for her to discuss these matters in a public forum.
Standing before her mirror, she gathered her strawberry-blond bob and secured it under a short wig, which she topped with a black baseball cap. Her boyfriend, Tom, helped trim some of the hairs from the back of her neck, and she affixed them to her upper lip with eyelash glue. She wore a heavy plaid shirt, green cargo pants, and brown men’s boots. When all was said and done, she realized the disguise was ridiculous, but Zoë was comforted that she looked ridiculously unlike herself.
By 11:55 a.m., she was in the passenger seat of her Mini Cooper with Tom at the wheel, barreling toward the Bronx. “All right. We are going. We’re doing the thing,” Zoë recorded herself saying in an iPhone video. She panned the camera over a stack of flyers that bore a black-and-white drawing of the man’s face and the words, “Have you seen this man?… Accused of Rape/Assault by over a dozen women.” At the bottom were a physical description and a website to learn more. The URL was the man’s name.
Lack of Accountability in the Face of Serious Assault and Sexual Threats
As they neared the man’s neighbourhood, where they would post the flyers everywhere — even on his front door — Zoë’s breath went shallow. She checked her disguise in the mirror. Tom gripped the wheel and stared at the road, sensing her unease. Zoë had been consumed with trying to bring her alleged rapist to account for the past year and a half. Maybe, Tom ventured, it was starting to be unhealthy. Perhaps she had done enough.
Zoë shook her head. “I don’t want him to be able to hide anymore,” she replied, gazing out the window at block after anonymous city block. “Like, we did this the right way. We turned every fucking stone; I reached out to every fucking DA, I went down to the precinct, I did everything by the book, the way it should have been done, and still: nothing. They always tell you, ‘Oh, trust the process, trust the process.… It’s due process. In the end, he’ll get what’s his.’ But if I don’t take it into my own fucking hands, no, he’s never going to get what’s his because he keeps getting away, and all these girls keep getting hurt.… It just fucking keeps me up at night.”
Calls for Justice and Assistance for the Woman
Plus, she wasn’t the only one kept up at night thinking about the deeds of Johnathan Michael Holmes. There was Dylan, who alleges that she was raped and beaten in 2015; May (a derivative of her first name), who claims she was raped in 2017; Addy, who says she was physically assaulted in both 2017 and 2018; and Jane (a name she chose to go by in this article), who states that she was raped and strangled in 2021. Holmes has denied all of their allegations, calling them “false, defamatory, and terrible” in an email to Rolling Stone and claiming that the five women, and others, have conspired to tell lies about him. But the women remain resolute. For a year and a half now — ever since they’d found one another, compared notes, and begun to see what they believed to be a clear pattern of dangerous behaviour — they’d banded together to try to get the New York Police Department to recognize that pattern and act on the assumption that it would continue playing out if nothing was done. Now, the women had reached a breaking point. It was time to seek some justice on their own.