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Man jailed for sexual assault in Wellington

Custody image of Mirzabek Toshpulatov
Mirzabek Toshpulatov received an extended sentence of more than 11 years.

A man has been jailed after sexually assaulting a young woman in Wellington last year.

Mirzabek Toshpulatov, 21, attacked and sexually assaulted the woman in the White Hart Lane area of the town during the early hours of Sunday 26 February 2023.

She managed to get free of him and call the police to report to us what happened.

A media appeal seeking witnesses was issued later that day and helped officers identify Toshpulatov as the perpetrator, but he had fled the area. He was subsequently arrested in Essex in October 2023.

Toshpulatov, previously of North Street in Wellington, was sentenced on Friday 16 February at Taunton Crown Court, which is temporarily relocated to North Somerset Courthouse. He received an extended sentence of 11 years and three months, of which the final three years will be served on licence having previously pleaded guilty to sexual assault by penetration and sexual assault by touching.

Along with his custodial sentence, Toshpulatov has been ordered to register as a sex offender for life, in which he must inform police of where he is living.

In a statement for the court, the woman said the sexual assault had made her feel ‘unsafe when walking anywhere’.

She said: “In the early hours of the morning on Sunday 26 February, I was attacked following a night out. I was sexually assaulted… When I ran off, I was trying to call for help but no one heard me.

“The day after it happened, I felt so overwhelmed in trying to understand what had happened to me. Everything we did for the investigation was a new experience for me and I didn’t know what would happen from it. It was a lot to come to terms with, and I am still trying to process this now.

“Not only has this left life long lasting effects on me, but also my family. They worry about me wherever I go, and fear this could happen again to me, themselves or anyone else.”

DC Natalie Norman, officer in the case, said: “Incidents of sexual assault are incredibly rare in Wellington and for it to have been committed by a stranger is even more unusual.

“We would like to recognise the courage the woman showed in reporting this to police and helping us focus on bringing this dangerous offender to justice. Had she not done so, Toshpulatov would still be on the streets.

“This incident was treated very seriously from the second it was reported to us and the positive response from the public to the witness appeal made a massive difference to helping us identify Toshpulatov and tracking his movements to Essex.

“The impact on the victim has been significant and would remind anyone with concerns around safety to please make us aware via the StreetSafe tool, which sees us work with other agencies to identify areas of concern and assist us with planning when and where to carry out high-visibility patrols.

“We welcome the significant custodial sentence Toshpulatov has received for the horrific crimes he committed last year. We hope this result gives confidence to all victims of sexual abuse that you will be believed and shows we will work tirelessly to get sexual predators into court so they can be dealt with robustly.”

Victims of rape or sexual assault, recent or non-recent, can self-refer to The Bridge, a Sexual Assault Referral Centre available 24/7 365 days a year. Visit their website The Bridge – Help after rape and sexual assault (thebridgecanhelp.org.uk) or call 0117 342 6999. There are also details of charities and organisations with expertise in supporting victims at www.thisisnotanexcuse.org.

If you feel unsafe in a public place you can report it via the StreetSafe tool StreetSafe | Police.uk (www.police.uk). The tool helps to inform our approach to protecting women and girls and allows police and partners to target particular areas of concern.