A man who entered a south London home and sexually assaulted a woman as she lay sleeping has been jailed.

Abel Mahari, 35 was sentenced on Thursday, (December 8) at Inner London Crown Court, to four years and three months imprisonment for sexual assault by touching.

The court heard how on September 5, 2021, the victim, aged in her 20s, was asleep at home when she woke to discover a man sexually assaulting her.

Having entered the home in Lambeth, Mahari had removed his shoes and made his way through the property to the victim’s bedroom.

The assault woke the victim and she screamed for help, shouting at Mahari who ran from the property.

Detectives began an immediate investigation and attended the scene to offer specialist support to the victim.

CCTV footage found that that the suspect matched the description of the defendant, and forensic samples taken from the victim’s home were a positive match for Mahari.

He was subsequently arrested and charged.

Mahari went on to plead guilty to the charge put to him, however he later tried to appeal his plea which was denied by the judge at Inner London Crown Court.

Recalling the incident, the victim said: “Someone coming into your house in the middle of the night and touching you in such an intimate way is something that you think will never happen to you.

“My home is my sanctuary, I felt safe there and he has taken that away from me.

"Obviously something like this can happen to anyone, but everyone genuinely believes that it will never happen to them.

“Once something like this happens to you, it makes you more paranoid, you then start to think that anything can happen to you and that is something that I now feel. It is a horrible way to view the world.

“It has only been in the last couple of weeks that my confidence is starting to improve, and I am feeling slightly more comfortable to go outside and to live my life. Since this attack I didn't want to go outside. I didn't want any unwanted attention from any other people, I didn't feel safe being out in the open.”

Detective Sergeant Will Wigzell, from the Serious Sexual Offences Unit, said: “This was an incredibly traumatic incident for the victim, who has been committed to this investigation. I want to thank her for her time and support.

“The impact this incident has had on her is something she will carry for the rest of her life, but I hope this conviction and sentence goes some way to helping her on her road to recovery.

“I would encourage any victims of sexual assault to contact police. We have specially trained officers who are here to listen to you. This case shows our dedication to investigating sexual offences, ensuring that victims are heard and justice is delivered.”