Man who was in the UK illegally is jailed for the attempted rape of a young girl in Axminster

A man has been jailed some five years after he went on the run from police for trying to rape a schoolgirl in Axminster.

Friday Ugurou, aged 51, was last week (May 2) jailed at Exeter Crown Court for nine-and-a-half-years for attempted rape after a jury saw through his lies where he tried to blame his young victim, claiming he was set-up.

Ugurou, formerly of Pinhoe Road, Exeter, and of no-fixed abode at the time of his court appearance, will be deported once he has served his sentence because he was in the UK illegally.

The court heard how Ugurou tried to rape the girl upstairs in a property in Axminster, only stopped his vile attack because he got disturbed, then begged his young victim not to tell anyone.

She ran away and raised the alarm.

The victim told the court how the sex predator had ruined her life, likening the attack to a ‘bomb’ going off in her world, leading her to have suicidal thoughts, and turning to self-harm and drug abuse to cope.

Ugurou told the court how DNA evidence found on the girl’s underwear was part of a plot to frame him, which the jury dismissed and the judge called ‘lies’.

He denied attempting to rape the child but the jury saw through his lies and found him guilty.

In sentencing Ugurou, Judge David Evans said: “Having told these lies, you absconded for more than five years during which the victim has been subjected to terrible psychological effects not only by what you did but by her awful wait for justice.

“It has weighed very heavily on her. You have ruined her life.”

Nigerian-born Ugurou was arrested and interviewed in 2017 but fled the county during the ongoing police investigation. He failed to report back to police in January 2018 and avoided rearrest until early 2023.

He was in the UK on a visitor’s visa, which had expired. He had been ordered to leave the country three years before he tried to rape the child.

A Devon and Cornwall Police spokesperson said: “He continued to evade justice, causing the victim further distress and psychological harm.

“At trial he claimed he was set-up, an account that was dismissed by the jury.”

Following the sentencing, DC Jonathan Stephens from the local safeguarding investigation team, said: “I welcome the result and I am grateful for the courage and resilience shown by the victim and witnesses in this case, and for supporting this investigation over a protracted period of time.”

He added: “I hope this case reassures the community how seriously the police take reports of child sexual offences and gives people the courage to come forward in future.”

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