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'Savage' rapist, 24, who shattered woman's skull jailed for life 

'Savage' rapist Zakarya Etarghi (pictured) has been given a life sentence with a minimum of 18 years 

'Savage' rapist Zakarya Etarghi has been given a life sentence with a minimum of 18 years after shattering his victim's skull and leaving her for dead near a children's play park. 

The 24-year-old attacked a woman in her 50s at a public park in Leicester, East Midlands, after a cocaine and alcohol binge.

Today he was jailed at Leicester Crown Court after being convicted of rape and attempted murder on March 7. 

Etarghi, of no fixed address, left the woman with life-threatening injuries from which she is still recovering after the attack on August 3 last year. 

He claimed that he and the victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had drunk cider together and he left her in the park unhurt. 

Building site worker Etarghi attacked his 'vulnerable' victim and left her with horrific life-changing injuries including a 'shattered' skull and bleeding to the brain.  

Etarghi raped his victim near a children's play area and the shattered her skull. Police are pictured at the scene in the aftermath of the attack

But a member of the public found her with head injuries at the park following what prosecutor William Harbage QC previously told the jury  was a 'brutal' and 'appalling' assault.  

The 24-year-old fled the scene after the attack, in Highfields, Leicester, and travelled 60 miles to Stoke-on-Trent where he laid low for two weeks. 

During that time he switched phones and sent WhatsApp messages to friends that read, 'I just can't see it, today's the day I get nicked', and 'I'm looking at 10 to 20' - which prosecutors said was a reference to the number of years in prison he thought he could be sentenced to.

He was eventually tracked down, arrested and charged with rape and attempted murder.

Despite the evidence against him, Etarghi, who was born in Sudan, denied the offences – saying someone else must have carried out the attack.

The jury unanimously convicted Etarghi after Leicestershire Police recovered his DNA from the scene.  

Pictured: The children's play ground is cordoned off after 'savage' rapist Zakarya Etarghi left a woman for dead there 

Judge Nicholas Dean QC said his victim was 'lucky to be alive' after being 'attacked in a most brutal way' when she met Etarghi in the playground – with evidence suggesting a weapon of some kind had been used.

He added: 'It was only good fortune that led to her being found in the park by a passer-by.

'Had there been any more delay it is likely that she would have died. As it was, it is clear that her life hung by a thread for quite some time whilst she endured the extensive medical treatment required to save her life and to effect her, partial, recovery.'

The judge said he had 'no hesitation' in concluding Etarghi was a 'dangerous offender' who was responsible for 'controlled and extreme brutality and physical violence of a most callous and horrifying type.'

The court heard a resident found her unconscious and naked from the waist down at around 4.40am after the attack, suffering from multiple injuries. 

Police tape cordons off the children's play area after Etarghi raped a woman in her 50s following an alcohol and cocaine binge 

She was rushed to hospital – but 'miraculously' survived after undergoing life-saving surgery and is still recovering. 

Speaking in a victim impact statement, the victim said: 'If I could describe the last few months, I would say they have been hell.

'It is like something out of a horror film. It's like something you see on the news that happens to other people.

'I no longer feel safe walking to and from my home, especially late at night. I constantly worry something is going to happen.' 

The woman is still recovering from her injuries. Detective Inspector Mark Sinski told the Leicester Mercury there is little doubt that she would have died were it not for the extensive medical treatment she received.

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