— De Telegraaf (@telegraaf) June 7, 2017
What has happened has deeply traumatised her, but Esmée (fictitious name) has decided she has to tell her story anyway. On a Saturday, 15 October 2016, around 16:00, she left a pub in the Dutch city of Hoorn to go back home. She had called a cab, but cancelled it after being approached by an African man who offered to bring her home. And so they took off, with Esmée sitting on the luggage rack of her own bike.
But the man rode in the wrong direction and, panicking, Esmée got off, called a friend for help and attempted to call 112, the emergency number. In the interview, Esmée is not clear about the exact sequence of events that happen next. But she remembers a blow to the side of her head while she tried to call the emergency number 112, and the man being on top of her in the bushes, choking her:
“My coat had been taken off and he had his hand on my throat. The only thing I remember is that he was enormously strong. I couldn’t do anything. I was gurgling and knew for certain: I am going to die.“
The friend she called, a cab driver, had arrived by that time. He saw Esmée running towards him in full panic and brought her to her mother, who remembers:
“All of a sudden she was there, next to my bed. I will never forget the sight: a haggard person with leaves and clots of sperm in her hair. Humiliating. My daughter was in shock and I could read the fear of death in her eyes. That man destroyed a life in the space of minutes.“
Notified police take her near the scene of the crime, but Esmée is unsure of its location. “I was taken to the station immediately where they took DNA-samples from my hair. The police treated me well.”
She wants to report the crime, but that is impossible:
“I was obligated to wait two weeks. Time for reflection. ‘How is this possible?’ I thought.“
Medical examination reveals a possible concussion and heavy bruising on her thigh, throat, and larynx.
Esmée realises her phone is gone, which she tells the police as well. “According to the police, the phone couldn’t be traced.” But that’s not strictly true. A few days after the assault, Esmée noticed, to her dismay, that her profile on chat site Badoo is active. Her Facebook account came to life as well.
“He was merrily using my phone to chat!“
By using the Find my iPhone-app she could see exactly where her phone was. This information she passed on to the police. Who, to the amazement of mother and daughter, did nothing. Disapointed in the police, the two take on the role of detective upon themselves. They set up a trap:
“We made a Badoo-profile. Because he pretended to be a woman, I presented myself als a bisexual woman. We got a photo from the internet. The same type as I am. We called her Sandy.“
Esmée ‘liked’ the man, who greedily takes the bait.
“It was really bizar, actually. I was contacting my rapist.“
The man send her a message:”Hi Sandy, you’re hot.” He asked her, right away, to come to his place. Esmée asked his address and got it. But she needs to know he’s the right man. So she gave him the mobile telephone number of a friend and asked him to app her a picture. On her friend’s screen a selfie appeared of the man who almost wrung the life out of her:
“He was wearing the shirt he wore on the night in question and I could clearly see that he had my phone in his hands.“
It is the end of December, and Esmée has found out enough, she thinks, for the man who raped her to be arrested. His name is Mohammed Kamaal M., a 28-year-old Somalian. He came to the Netherlands in 2013, first staying in a migrant center in Alkmaar. On his Facebook profile is a picture, dated 6 March 2014, with the major of the municipality of Opmeer, where he now lives. There are also clips of IS-fighters and former leader of Libya, Gaddafi.
“This is a deranged lunatic. It made me more fearful. What if he took me home? The worst thing is, that this man was free and knew everything about me.“
Esmée took her information to the police and: nothing happens. Two more months pass before Mohammed is finally arrested on 27 February 2017. According to the spokeswoman for the Ministery of Public Prosecution (OM), Tine Zwiers:
“his DNA is a complete match with the secured DNA from the research. He has been in custody ever since his arrest.“
The question is, why it has taken so long for Mohammed M. to be arrested? According to the OM:”
“the phone was untraceable just after the fact, it was turned on some time later. A few times the victim passed on a location, found through the app Find my iPhone. The police has acted on that information, but unfortunately without result: at the scene, the person did not fit the profile and the telephone wasn’t found either.“
This narrative is slightly at odds with what the police told Esmée back in December:
“They [the police] indicated that they would investigate, but they also told me that they were ‘drowning’ in work. I told my friends: we could start our own detective bureau.“
The OM recognises that it is Esmée’s detective work, especially the selfie she got Mohammed M. to send her, that caused the break-through. “The police used that information to go forward. After he was traced, he was arrested,” according to Tine Zwiers.
Mohammed Kamaal M., born in the Somalian capital of Mogadishu, will be in court in Alkmaar on Friday, on suspicion of attempted rape with violence and theft. His defence counsel has refused to comment on the article in De Telegraaf.
Esmée hopes that he will deported:
“The Ministery of Justice told our counsel that Mohammed was giving his residence permit on 9 December. It would be incomprehensible if this man could not be deported now because of that. Especially criminal refugees erode the support for immigrants. This animal does not deserve to stay here at our expense. Hospitality is meant for real refugees, not for lunatics.“