UK: HIV-positive asylum seeker found not guilty of rape

Rape case asylum seeker has to stay

3:54pm Saturday 8th September 2007

An HIV-positive asylum seeker, who was cleared of rape after having unprotected sex with a woman at her flat, cannot be returned to his home country because of the political situation there.

Nqobizitha Ngwenya, a 30-year-old Zimbabwean, has been served with deportation papers after he was previously refused asylum, but is now set to remain in the UK.

Ngwenya, who was sentenced to two months’ imprisonment after admitting lying about his name and immigration status to obtain work, is still thought to be living in the Great Horton area.

He walked free two weeks ago when a jury took less than 40 minutes to find him not guilty of rape following a trial at Bradford Crown Court.

The woman claimed Ngwenya, who was working illegally as a cleaner at a nursing home, had pinned her arms behind her, pushed her into her bedroom and forced her to have unprotected sex after delivering crates of beer for a party to her home in April.

He told the court she had consented to sex and had told him there was no time to find a condom. The jury was told they had been friends for two years and had once slept together in 2005.

The court heard Ngwenya had known since April 2003 he was HIV positive and a doctor said there was a risk of transmission.

A judge freed him from the jail sentence for the deception offence because he had already spent four months in custody on remand.

A West Yorkshire P police spokesman confirmed Ngwenya had been served with deportation papers, which enabled the Home Office to remove him from the country should they wish to do so.

The spokesman said: “We have spoken to the immigration service and have been told a High Court ruling means nobody can be returned to Zimbabwe due to the political situation there.

“They cannot return Mr Ngwenya to Zimbabwe because of that.

“Should the situation improve in Zimbabwe, he could be liable to deportation at some future point.”

Ngwenya, described as a family man, is thought to have provided a false passport and birth certificate to get work at the nursing home under the name of Maxwell.

It is understood he disappeared after his asylum status was refused five years ago.

A Home Office spokesman said they were unable to comment on individual cases., but she confirmed they were having to defer enforced returns of failed asylum seekers to Zimbabwe.

She said asylum seekers could be subject to reporting restrictions or held in removal centres.

Woman’s ‘rapist’ was HIV positive

An HIV positive asylum seeker raped a woman in her flat – forcing her to have unprotected sex, a court heard.

Nqobizitha Ngwenya pinned the woman’s arms behind her back and pushed her into her bedroom before attacking her, a Bradford Crown Court jury was told. The Zimbabwian denies raping the 24-year-old at her home in the Bradford area on April 25 this year.

Prosecutor John Lodge told the jury yesterday that Ngwenya, 30, used the false name Maxwell Muchaneyo and lied about his immigration status to obtain work as a cleaner at a nursing home.

Mr Lodge told the court that Ngwenya, of Waverley Road, Great Horton, Bradford, was an asylum seeker without a work visa. He was widely known as “Maxwell”.

Ngwenya has pleaded guilty to a separate charge of giving false details to obtain work by deception.

But he has denied rape on the grounds that the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, consented to sex.

Mr Lodge said Ngwenya had known since April 2003 that he was HIV positive.

Paul McWhinney, consultant physician at the Trinity Centre, Bradford, confirmed Nqwenya attended the clinic regularly. The doctor said Ngwenya was HIV positive and there was a risk of transmission.

Mr Lodge told the jury of six men and six women that the issue they had to consider on the rape charge was one of consent.

Giving evidence, the woman told the court that the defendant was previously a friend.

She had known him for almost two years by April this year and had slept with him once in 2005. She was living in a bedsit at that time and he had used a condom.

She said she did not know he was HIV positive.

On April 25 this year, she said, Ngwenya called at her flat at 7.40am to drop off 12 cases of lager for a party.

She said she was in her pyjamas and was showing him out when he seized her from behind.

“He grabbed me with my hands behind my back. He pushed me, forced me, into my bedroom. He pushed me on to the bed,” she said.

“I was asking him what he was doing but he didn’t reply. I was kicking and screaming for him to get off.”

The woman said Ngwenya held her hands above her head and raped her.

Afterwards, she said, he threatened: “I haven’t finished with you. I’ll be back tonight to finish it off.”

“I was in my bed crying my eyes out,” she told the jury.

The woman’s boyfriend at the time said she texted him saying: “He raped me.” When he asked who, she replied: “Maxwell”.

The boyfriend, who also cannot be identified for legal reasons, said he saw the defendant soon after the alleged rape.

“He turned to me and waved and he had a big grin on his face,” he said.

The teenager said when he saw his girlfriend that evening she was “very shook up and quiet”.

Ngwenya told police he arranged to have sex with the woman that morning.

She knew he was HIV positive but she said there was not time to look for a condom, he said.

He agreed doctors had told him he could pass on the HIV virus if he had unprotected sex.

But he said the woman pulled him towards him and urged him to have sex without a condom.

The trial continues.

8:22am Thursday 30th August 2007