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‘Grim Reaper’ sex offender to be released, minister announces

TeWolde Mathin Selassie (Photograph supplied)

A man who broke into a teenager’s bedroom and raped her is to be released from prison on Monday, the Ministry of Legal Affairs confirmed yesterday.

TeWolde Mathin Selassie, 44, was sentenced to 25 years for the 2005 assault on a 15-year-old girl.

Kathy Lynn Simmons, the Minister of Legal Affairs and Constitutional Reform, issued a public notice that he would be released from the Department of Corrections’ Prison Farm next week.

The notice said: “Selassie, a 44-year-old Black male who will be of no fixed abode, was convicted and incarcerated for burglary and serious sexual assault.

“Based on this and on other information received, the minister has determined that the Ministry of Education should be provided with information regarding this offender to ensure that relevant schools are notified about his impending release.”

The Criminal Code allows the minister to release information about sex offenders who were considered to cause “a risk of significant harm to the health or safety of the public, an affected group of people, or an individual”.

Puisne Judge Carlisle Greaves, who sentenced Selassie, said he was a predator with evil intent who stole into his victim's bedroom "like a Grim Reaper" and subjected her to her worst nightmare.

The victim had told the court that she was woken in the middle of the night in January 2005 by a man who had broken in through her window by removing an air-conditioning unit.

Selassie threw bedclothes over her face before he pulled her to the floor and assaulted her.

She said the man warned her that he had a knife and would kill her if she screamed and put his hands over her mouth and nose to stop her fighting back, which made her believe she would die.

The court heard that before he escaped he suggested to the victim that she get her window fixed.

Selassie was identified as the attacker through DNA testing, with the court hearing that there was a one in 100 billion chance the DNA came from someone else.

Mr Justice Greaves said the assault was one of the worst cases to come before the court and in May 2007 sentenced him to 25 years in custody with time served to be taken into account.

The sentence was later upheld by the Court of Appeal.

The mother of the victim raised concerns in 2013 when she discovered Selassie had been working at a home near where the victim regularly stayed.

It was revealed at that time Selassie had been allowed to work outside the prison through a community service programme.

Lieutenant-Colonel Edward Lamb, the Commissioner of Corrections at the time, defended the decision to send Selassie out on the programme and said neither he nor corrections staff knew the victim had moved into the area.

He added that offenders involved in the programme were supervised and escorted by prison officers at all times.

Selassie became eligible for parole in October 2013 after he had served one third of his sentence.