Tenacity of police officer on trail of West Hampstead student ‘predator'

Tuesday, 15th April 2014


A STUDENT who tried to strangle a woman at a West Hampstead halls of residence was caught by a police officer who has been commended by her bosses for “tenacity”.

The student was deported to Turkey after the case was cracked by PC Nicola Christopher, a police awards ceremony was told.

As a result of her investigation it emerged that he had earlier targeted an intoxicated student at a freshers party at the Independent Student Living flats, in Blackburn Road, in September last year, just weeks after the block of 350 units opened.

The freshers party incident was one of two reports of attacks at the block which had not been followed up because the victims did not want to pursue the cases.

PC Christopher’s award was handed over at Camden’s recent police commendation ceremony, where senior officers described how her work in tracking down the student’s previous victims helped bring him to justice. 

Detective Chief Inspector Andrew Packer told the Town Hall ceremony: “PC Christopher spoke to the victim, spoke to the staff in the hostel and they kept a book of incidents. He was a predator.”

The most serious allegation was an attempted sexual assault after a freshers party in which the student had identified a drunk female and removed her from a party but was stopped by her friends. 

Following his arrest unprescribed medication, which was a sedative, was found in his possession. 

“It is tenacity that runs throughout this whole commendation,” said Det Chief Insp Packer. “And what we call ‘gut instinct’. You can’t really buy that.”

The man pleaded guilty to common assault at Highbury Magistrates’ Court and was also found to be in breach of his student visa.

Police said they only discovered the history of earlier incidents at the block when the man was arrested for assault.

But Stephanie Tuttle, head of student services at Independent Student Living, which has 24-hour staff on-site, rejected the police version of events. She said: “I can definitely confirm that every incident was reported to the police at once. I was the one who reported all three incidents. 

“The first time we reported him the police came and gave him a warning. The police came back and reiterated their warning. 

“The reason that charges were not able to be laid in the first two incidents was that the people who made the complaints didn’t want to press charges so they gave him a warning.”

She said that with the third incident the student who was victim of an attempted assault wanted to press charges, allowing police to make an arrest

Ms Tuttle added: “We do take pastoral care very seriously.”

Related Articles