True Crime

Aussie mum’s horror – I was attacked by a serial rapist… but now he’s walking free

Megs was brutally attacked..

Megs was having the time of her life when she was brutally attacked.

Here, Megs McLean, 36, from Geelong, shares her story in her own words…

As we finished our run, I turned to my friend Joel.

‘We made it!’ I panted.

‘Great job,’ he grinned.

A 20-year-old Aussie, I’d moved to Wellington, NZ, to study to be a paramedic.

Setting up life in a hostel, I’d made amazing friends, including Joel and Cameron.

After our workout, Joel and I cooked dinner.

Then, while he went to the bathroom, I washed up.

Just then, Akeel, 35, another resident, walked in.

We barely spoke, but he would always stare at me.

Suddenly, he grabbed my waist and said, ‘I’ll give you money for kisses.’

‘What! No, leave me alone,’ I snapped, pushing him away.

Later, around 7pm, I went to the kitchen to get some water and Akeel was there within seconds.

‘Come and watch a video with me,’ he said.

‘No, go away,’ I replied.

But as I walked down the hall, I heard Akeel shout, ‘Quick, Andy is in trouble, help!’

Andy was another resident at the hostel. Thinking he was hurt, I started running back, but as I passed Akeel’s private room, he suddenly grabbed me and pulled me in.

Locking the door behind him, he brandished a knife.

My heart pounded as I realised this man was dangerous.

‘Take off your clothes,’ he growled.

‘No, please let me out,’ I begged.

Pushing me to the floor, he stamped on my pelvis.

I cried out in pain as I heard it crack.

As Akeel pulled his pants down, I clamped my legs firmly shut.

‘Please stop,’ I pleaded.

Ignoring me, he pulled down my shorts and forced himself inside me.

It was horrifying.

Afterwards, Akeel watched porn, leaving me sobbing on the floor.

I started to wriggle over to the door, but he pulled me back, tying my wrists to the bed.

Akeel Hassan Abbas Al Baiiaty
Akeel Hassan Abbas Al Baiiaty

‘I used to be in the military,’ he spat.

Then, he raped me again.

Desperate, I yelled for help.

But Akeel pushed a pillow over my face, restricting my breathing.

When it was over, I got my arms free from the rope and tried to escape.

Tackling me, Akeel slit my throat with the knife.

I’m going to die, I thought, imagining my parents at my funeral.

Then, he cut my arm and rammed my head into a  peaker.

Blood was everywhere.

The pain was agonising as he raped me again.

‘If you leave me here, I’ll bleed to death. But if you let me go, I’ll get a flight to Australia tomorrow and I’ll never tell anyone about this,’ I wept.

Amazingly, he agreed.

I dragged myself along the corridor and knocked on Joel’s door.

His mouth dropped open when he saw me.

‘I hate Akeel,’ I said.

Joel and Cam took me to the police station where I gave a statement, then I was taken to hospital for an examination.

I felt so humiliated.

My legs and pelvis were so black from the bruising that I couldn’t walk properly.

Cameron, Joel and Megs
Cameron, Joel and me (Credit: Supplied)

Police charged Akeel Hassan Abbas Al Baiiaty with sexual violation by rape, abduction with intent to have sex and assault.

Akeel pleaded not guilty, which meant I had to give evidence and see him again.

At the District Court in Wellington, I desperately tried to avoid eye contact, but every time I looked up, he would be staring at me and smiling.

It was such a relief when he was found guilty. Akeel was sentenced to Preventive Detention with a minimum of seven years in prison.

I later found out that before Akeel – an Iraqi refugee – raped me, he had already spent time in prison for raping two other women and assault with intent to rape a third.

But the Kiwi authorities had failed to revoke his citizenship and he had only been out two months when he attacked me.

I tried to stay in NZ, but traumatised, I had to move back to Australia.

Over the years, Akeel applied for parole numerous times and I had to fight to keep him behind bars by writing letters.

Twice, I even flew to NZ to meet with the parole board.

Then in September, Akeel’s parole was approved.

He’s due to be released this month and deported back to his home country, Iraq, where he plans to marry his fiancée

The day I married Jonny
The day I married Jonny
Macki, Jonny, Scout, me and Alfie
Macki, Jonny, Scout, me and Alfie

It’s terrifying that a man who has brutally raped multiple women can
be released and I’m worried he’ll commit again.

It’s 15 years since that awful attack. But I can never forget what I went through.

The scars – physical and mental – will always be there.

If people ask about my scars, I’ll always lie, saying I fell through a window. I also suffer from PTSD and have regular operations on my bladder and pelvis.

Despite all that, I refuse to let that evil man win. I’ve qualified as a paramedic, as well as meeting and marrying my husband, Jonny, 39, who is my rock.

We also have three beautiful children, Macki, seven, Alfie, five, and Scout, three, who we had through IVF due to my injuries.

Because I’m Australian, the NZ government refuses to pay me compensation like other victims of crime would get. It means I can’t afford the counselling I need.

My amazing friends have set up a GoFundMe to raise money to help.

I’m so grateful. And I’m determined to keep strong for them.

To help Megs, visit her GoFundMe 

For rape support visit 1800Respect  

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