February 1999

`Bus-stop’ sex attacker is jailed for 15 years

A sex fiend who preyed on teenage girls in a 11-month reign of terror was jailed yesterday for 15 years.

Factory worker Jason Garghan (26) indecently assaulted the girls, aged 15-17, at knifepoint, frogmarching them to open ground after spotting them on the streets of South Birmingham.

Garghan, who picked most of his victims as they waited at bus stops, was eventually caught after being stopped for a motoring offence and a DNA sample matched those from one of his victims’ coat, Birmingham Crown Court heard.

He told one girl he had Aids after assaulting her and told his 12 victims to “pretend I am your boyfriend” as he accosted them.

Mr David Mason, prosecuting, said the victims had all undergone “personality changes” and suffered from sleepless nights after the attacks between December 1996 and November 1997.

Police initially arrested the wrong man after witnesses and some of the victims mistakenly picked a similar-looking man out of an identification parade.

Mr Mason said a “dreadful mistake” almost occurred before police realised they had the wrong man.

Garghan (26), of Cock Hill Lane, Rubery, pleaded guilty to five charges of indecent assault and one charge of robbery.

He also asked for seven charges of indecent assault, seven of robbery and one of assault to be considered.

Judge Alaistair McCreath said: “These were very grave offences indeed. You were accosting young women at knifepoint in public places and assaulting them in a quite appalling fashion. In a fashion that did not amount to rape but came as close to rape as can be.”

Mr Mason said most of the attacks took place in Selly Oak, Harborne and Quinton.

They were always at knifepoint and the victims were always threatened that they would be cut or killed.

He said in many cases Garghan would steal property from them and the attacks occurred on a regular basis. There was only a gap in the summer months of 1997.

“It was quickly established by the police that there was a pattern of offending and as a result a major incident room was set up to try to catch him,” said Mr Mason.

“He would threaten his victims, telling them he would cut or kill them and he would steal from them as well.

“He told one of his victims he would kill her if she told anybody and, in one attack, cruelly joked that he had Aids.”

The court heard how the first attack took place on December 2, 1996, on 16-year-old as she walked along Hagley Road, towards Jonathan’s Restaurant.

On January 20, 1997, he attacked two 15-year-olds at the same time after they left Shenley Green Youth Club.

Mr Mason said Garghan’s final , and perhaps the worst, assault occurred on November 4, 1997, when he forced a 15-year-old girl to strip on a golf course near Quinton Road, Harborne.

On that occasion, said Mr Mason, Garghan cut himself and when he was arrested on a charge of attempted theft from a vehicle police analysed his DNA.

As a result they “came up trumps” and were able to link him with the final attack.

Mr Philip Harper, defending, said Garghan had co-operated fully with police and had pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity.

“He is very sorry for what he has done and feels remorse and guilt. He has had to abandon his own children and was put on the suicide list while in custody.

“He had had a long-standing relationship with his girlfriend but they had broken up at the time of these offences so he was feeling frustrated,” Mr Harper said.