British court jails man over 'couchsurfing' rape

30th October 2009, Comments 0 comments

The man was found guilty of raping and threatening to murder a 29-year-old woman who had travelled from Hong Kong to stay at his home after meeting through the website CouchSurfing.

London -- A man accused of raping a tourist in his flat in Britain after offering her a place to stay through a popular travellers' website has been jailed for 10 years, British police said Thursday.

Moroccan national Abdelali Nachet, 34, was found guilty of raping and threatening to murder the 29-year-old woman, who had travelled from Hong Kong to stay at his home after meeting through the website CouchSurfing.

The site links travellers with local people willing to give them a place to stay for free. It currently has more than one million members around the world.

West Yorkshire Police said the victim had used the website to find places to stay as she made her way across Europe and contacted Nachet when she wanted to visit Leeds in northern England.

When she arrived in March this year, however, she was attacked, police said.

"This woman was visiting the UK and had trusted Nachet's motives for offering his home as somewhere for people to stay. He violated this trust in the most appalling way," police detective sergeant Emma Wight said.

She said Nachet "has preyed on the kindness and hospitality of those using the Internet to meet new people and explore new places".

He was convicted at Leeds Crown Court on Wednesday of two counts of rape and one of sexual assault, and sentenced to 10 years in jail, police said.

CouchSurfing says that since it began in 2004, 1.25 million stays have been organised, with 99.6 percent of recorded experiences classed as positive.

AFP/Expatica

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