Man who once tried to escape justice by fleeing to Kenya spared jail in abuse case

Rachel Essaid
Imraan Hasham and Rachel Essaid

A British company director who previously served time in jail for conspiracy to rob a bank after fleeing to Kenya to evade justice, has pleaded guilty in court to engaging in controlling or coercive behaviour during a relationship, under new laws introduced in 2015 to help victims of domestic violence.

17-year-old primary school secretary Rachel Essaid met Imraan Hasham at a nightclub in Bolton. The businessman lied about his age, telling the teenager he was 20 and the pair embarked on a relationship which quickly became abusive, with him cutting her off from friends, demanding that she wore conservative clothing and breaking her phone.

Rachel Essaid
Rachel Essaid. Photo: Facebook

The court heard that during a campaign of abuse, Ms Essaid was kept inside, forbidden from seeing her family, told to keep the blinds closed at home so no one could see her and pressured by Hasham to marry him in a mosque. He also berated her when she waved at a male PE teacher when being picked up from work.

Hasham reportedly called his young girlfriend a ‘slag’ and would tell her to put her ‘t*** away’ if she wore revealing clothes.

Police were called last March after he threw her onto his bed and tried to smother her during an argument when she tried to visit her mother. He also bit her hand so she could not use her phone and later threatened her stepfather when he helped her to pick up her belongings saying “I will f***ing kill you”.

The day after, she went to the bus stop on the way to work when Hasham pulled up. Prosecutor Matthew Treece told the court how Hasham was “verbally abusing her and called her a ‘slag, a low life and ugly’ as she cried. Then, when a message arrived on her phone, he grabbed it and bit her hand so she would let go. He then bent the phone and cracked its the screen before he put his hand over her mouth so that she couldn’t scream”.

Hasham was given a 26 weeks’ jail sentence suspended for 18 months and banned from contacting Ms Essaid for two years under the terms of a restraining order. In addition, he was ordered to pay £500 compensation for breaking her phone and £1,265 costs.

Hasham had previously been jailed for eight-and-a-half years for conspiracy to rob over a 2004 bank raid during which a female cashier was kidnapped at gunpoint. He fled to Kenya but was caught after returning to the UK two years later. He also had convictions for criminal damage and affray.