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Man given eight year prison sentence for sexually assaulting six women

Hanok Zeray, a 32-year-old man from Ringmer Road in Brighton, has been handed a 13 year sentence for sexually assaulting six women in public spaces around Brighton city centre in 2022.

The investigation began after a woman reported being raped in the Old Steine area of Brighton on April 16th. Zeray was arrested the following day on suspicion of rape and was released under investigation while evidence was collected.

Stock image / Credit – Sussex News

On May 22nd, two women reported being sexually assaulted in London Road and Southover Street. The Southover Street victim was chased by Zeray but managed to escape by locking herself in her flat.

On October 23rd, a third woman reported being sexually assaulted by Zeray in Elm Grove. She was able to film the assault on her mobile phone and officers identified Zeray from the footage. He was arrested shortly after and charged with rape and three counts of sexual assault.

While remanded, Zeray was charged with three additional counts of sexual assault after three more women came forward to report being attacked. One on May 22nd in London Road, one in Gladstone Place on June 19th, and a third on October 23rd – just five minutes before Zeray was filmed assaulting the woman in Elm Grove.

Detective Constable Amy Pemberton-Hill said: “Hanok Zeray was a committed offender who presented a clear danger to lone women and girls.

“I would like to thank all these women for reporting his crimes to police and supporting the investigation through to prosecution.

“The streets of Brighton and Hove are a safer place as a result.”

At Brighton Magistrates’ Court on February 24th, Zeray pleaded guilty to all six counts of sexual assault and not guilty to rape. The rape charge was later discontinued by the Crown Prosecution Service.

On July 21st, at Lewes Crown Court, Zeray was sentenced to eight years and three months in prison, with an extended licence period of five years.

Superintendent Adele Tucknott, Sussex Police’s lead for violence against women and girls, said: “The behaviour shown by Hanok Zeray will not be tolerated in Sussex – from the persistent harassment of women through to the sexual assaults for which he has been jailed.

“Women and girls should be safe to walk the streets alone at any time of day or night without being targeted by predatory men.

“We have a range of measures to keep people safe at night and it is so important that any incidents are reported so we can take positive action.

“In an emergency, always call 999. You can also download the Safe Space app, which has a list of designated safe spaces across Sussex where you can seek help. Download the app here Safe:Space Sussex – Safe Space Sussex Application.”

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