A pair of rapists have been jailed for what police described as the systematic abuse of two vulnerable women as part of a drug-dealing operation.
At Hove Crown Court on Friday, Paul Kariuki, 20, of no fixed address, and Fowzi Hlal, also 20, of Rydal Way, Enfield, were both given 20-year sentences for infiltrating the homes of two young drug users in Littlehampton and Carlisle to deal drugs, known to police as ‘cuckooing’, Sussex Police said.
The prosecution came from the close co-operation of Detective Constable Becky Hazzard in Littlehampton and Detective Constable Tim Prangnell in Carlisle after investigations into the Littlehampton case began in January 2017.
Speaking after the sentencing, Mr Prangnell said: “This was a complex case that involved working in close partnership with our colleagues from Sussex Police and the South East section of the Crown Prosecution Service. It was from this joint working initiative that the court was able to hear the true extent of the organised criminality of Paul Kariuki and Fowzi Hlal.
“Both males, from their base in North London, travelled hundreds of miles across the length and breadth of the UK, seeking to set up a national distribution network for their illegal trade in heroin and crack cocaine.
“These heinous sexual offences were a ‘by-product’ of County Lines drugs supply.
“In order to achieve control over such a lucrative market, they chose to viciously violate, both sexually and physically, some of the most vulnerable women in society, taking over their homes and treating them in the most degrading manner.
“They assumed that these women would not have the courage to tell police their story, or the trust in the police to believe and support them. They could not have been more wrong.”
On July 30 at Hove Crown Court, Hlal was convicted of raping both women and money laundering.
Kariuki was convicted of raping both women, possession of crack cocaine with intent to supply, and causing actual bodily harm to the woman in Carlisle.
The first 15 years are custodial, and the other five years will be spent on prison release licence supervision.
They will also both have to serve at least 10 years in prison custody before they can be considered for parole, police said.