Home News Woman who survived Bristol rape speaks out as attacker on the run

Woman who survived Bristol rape speaks out as attacker on the run

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A rapist who has been on the run for almost 16 years should never have been released on bail, says one of his victims.

Carly Carter, now 37, was attacked by Mohammed Zamani in central Bristol in 2005. Despite having fled the country and being arrested on his return, he was then granted bail ahead of his trial.

Zamani failed to attend his Bristol Crown Court hearing in February 2006 — and he has been wanted by British authorities ever since. The 52-year-old was tried and convicted in his absence last week and given a 16-year prison sentence.

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Now Miss Carter, from Bedminster, has waived her right of anonymity in an interview with ITV News West Country, criticising Judge Carol Hagen who granted Zamani bail in November 2005.

Miss Carter said: “The police were so good and they did everything right. We came so close to getting him off the streets. And it was that one judge, Carol Hagen, who let him go.

“I knew from the moment he was given bail it was inevitable he was going to go [abroad]. I could have had closure 16 years ago. And that’s a long time to carry this. There’s no doubt in my mind he’s out there doing it to other women. And we came so close to stopping that.

“I felt numb. I was numb for years. Everyone else around me was getting angry and it wouldn’t sink in.”

Miss Carter was returning home from a night out in June 2005 when she was raped by Zamani in an alleyway off Park Street.

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Zamani’s DNA was found at the scene. When officers went to arrest him, he had already left the country and his car was found at Heathrow Airport. DNA samples taken from his car matched those from the scene of Miss Carter’s attack.

He was arrested when he returned to the UK. He admitted having sexual contact with Miss Carter and another woman who was the victim of an attempted rape in Bristol in 2003, but he denied criminal offences.

In the December 2003 attack, Zamani had attempted to rape a woman in her 20s as she walked up the steps from Frogmore Street into Park Street, following an evening out with her friends.

He was charged with the rape of Miss Carter and the 2003 attempted rape, but when he appeared at Bristol Crown Court, Judge Hagen — since retired — granted him bail on the condition he wear a security tag and surrender his passport. Zamani then went on the run.

Miss Carter, who works in IT, said: “I’ve waited 16 years to tell my story. I want to get his face out there, I want to get his name out there. And I think if people can see a face to tie to a story, more people might come forward.



Mohammed Reza Telabi Zamani, now 52, remains wanted after failing to attend a hearing at Bristol Crown Court in February 2006
Mohammed Reza Telabi Zamani, now 52, remains wanted after failing to attend a hearing at Bristol Crown Court in February 2006

“You never think it’s going to happen to you, but I would have just assumed that if anyone had attacked me I would scream and fight and scratch and do everything I could. But it doesn’t work like that.

“I was frozen with fear and praying it would be over and I would survive it. I couldn’t make a noise. There was nothing there. And I think it’s important to tell people that that does happen.”

Miss Carter said she self-harmed and attempted suicide in the years following her attack and Zamani’s release on bail. She feared he would never face justice.

The case was recently re-investigated by Avon and Somerset police. Zamani was tried in his absence at Bristol Crown Court earlier this month.

Miss Carter gave live evidence without the use of a screen before the court. It took the jury just 24 minutes to convict Zamani of Miss Carter’s rape and the attempted rape from 2003.

“I don’t think I’d allowed myself to believe that it could be guilty,” said Miss Carter. “I didn’t realise I’d been holding my breath for so long. I felt validated when they read out ‘guilty.’

“To have such a long sentence given as well — it made me feel believed, and that it was really serious what happened to me.”

Asked if she thinks Zamani will face justice, Miss Carter replied: “I have to believe he does. I can’t begin to process that he wouldn’t. I think he’ll slip up and make a mistake and they’ll get him. I have to believe that. People like that don’t stop until they’re caught and put away.

“I hate him. And that’s not something I say lightly. I hate him for what he did to me and the other person and I hate him for what he’s likely doing now. It is all-encompassing.”

Det Sgt Nic Lawson of Avon and Somerset police told ITV: “We are desperate to locate him, wherever he may be in the world.



Rape survivor Carly Carter
Carly Carter

“When he left, he left not using his passport. We, as a police force, have his passport. It’s my honest-held belief that someone has helped him.

“Someone has helped him get another passport in another name and left this country, we believe, from Heathrow Airport. We need to speak to that person who helped him.

“I believe he is a real danger. For whatever reason, whatever he believes in his mind that he is able to do, he is wrong. It is my belief that there are other women who were attacked by Mr Zamani. And I would urge them to come forward.”

Zamani is an Iranian national described as around 6ft tall, of medium build, with a long face and receding dark short hair.

The Judicial Office told ITV: “Whether or not to grant bail is a decision of the courts to make within the statutory framework provided by Parliament in the Bail Act 1976 taking account of relevant case-law. The Bail Act provides for a general presumption that bail will be granted in all cases, except in specific circumstances.”

If you know where Zamani is, call 999 and give the call handler the reference number 5219054441.

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