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A sexual predator who was caught when he returned to the scene of his crime as one of his victims was showing officers where she’d been assaulted, has been jailed.
The result follows a joint investigation by officers and detectives across our teams in the West, supported by officers from Herts Police.
Domenico Anselmo, 27, of Meadgate Road, Nazeing, has today (Wednesday 16 December) been sentenced to four years in prison in connection with a series of sexual offences in the west of the county and across the border into Hertfordshire.
He plead guilty to 17 offences committed between January 2017 and May 2021 on paths along the River Lea.
He subjected a total of thirteen women to physical assaults, indecent exposure and on some occasions, both.
In May of this year, 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.
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.
“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.
“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 by officers from our West Disruptor team, who had also been in the area conducting proactive plain-clothed patrols. He was charged with 18 offences.
The clothing he was wearing that day matched those seen in CCTV footage showing another of his offences.
On 6 August, at Chelmsford Crown Court, Anselmo plead guilty to 17 of the 18 offences.
At the same court today, Wednesday 16 December, he was sentenced to four years in prison with an extended licence.
When asked how she felt knowing he had plead guilty to his crimes, the woman who identified him said:
“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.
“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 the case from Harlow CID, 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.”
We believe that #AllMenCan make a difference in ending violence against women and girls. If you are a victim of violence, or know someone who is, you can seek support and find community resources by visiting the SETDAB website.
Always call 999 in an emergency.