A vile sexual predator was caught when he returned to the scene of his crime – as his victim showed police where she was attacked.
Domenico Anselmo, aged 27, of Meadgate Road, Nazeing, subjected 13 women to physical assaults and indecent exposure over the course of four years along the Essex and Hertfordshire border.
In total, Anselmo committed 17 offences, but was not caught until a chance second encounter with one of his victims as she showed officers where she’d been attacked.
The woman was terrified at seeing Anselmo again, but managed to signal to one of the officers before they left that the man on the bike riding near her was the same person who assaulted her.
This took place in May 2021 when the investigation team asked the women Anselmo targeted to accompany officers to the location of each offence, to install additional CCTV cameras in the area.
Footage from the CCTV cameras shows Anselmo checking his surroundings before following a woman and attacking her on his bicycle, before fleeing the scene soon after.
One of the women had been walking home along Dobbs Weir Road in July 2020 when she was assaulted.
Unexpectedly, Anselmo returned to the scene of the crime just as she finished showing officers where it had happened.
The woman said: “It had been a long time since the incident happened to me, so I’d honestly given up on the possibility of him being identified.
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“When the officers asked me to show them exactly where it happened, I didn’t really think anything would come of it.
“Afterwards, as I turned round to wave goodbye, I saw this man riding a push bike heading towards me.
“I thought to myself ‘I recognise that bike’ and that’s when the realisation suddenly set in.
“I felt really panicked as I didn’t want to walk back past him to alert the officers, but luckily one of them caught my eye and must have seen my distress.
“They came over to ask what was wrong and that’s when I told them ‘that’s him!’.
“Even now, I still find it completely unbelievable that it happened when it happened.
“It was perfect timing.”
Anselmo was arrested and charged with 18 offences. The clothing he was wearing that day matched those seen in CCTV footage showing another of his offences.
At Chelmsford Crown Court on December 16, he was sentenced to four years in jail and will also be subject to an extended period on licence.
The woman added: “I was so glad, not just for me but for everyone else involved. It’s great knowing that he’s been stopped from doing it to anyone else.
“When it happened to me, my first thought was to ring the police.
“I just knew that I couldn’t be the first person he’d done this to and I wouldn’t be the last.
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“He was so persistent, I’m not sure whether someone more vulnerable than me would have been able to get away easily. But what makes me hate him the most, out of everything, is that he’s made me wary of people.
“I don’t want anyone else to be made to feel like that.”
DC Clair Ward, the investigating officer for Essex Police, said: “I’m really proud that the work of my team has helped put Anselmo behind bars, but most of all, I’m really pleased that justice has been delivered for all of the 13 women he assaulted.
“It’s difficult to put into words just how much courage and determination they’ve shown over the past four years and I’m grateful for their unrelenting support throughout our investigation.
“Their strength has ensured that he answered for his crimes and ultimately prevented him from doing it to anyone else.”
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