Jail for thief who targeted cruising area

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

A 29-year-old who used threats of violence to rob two men in a well-known gay meeting spot has been jailed at Isleworth Crown Court.

Erkan Halil was living at Ledwood Avenue, Hayes, but has a family home in Goldhawk Road, Shepherds Bush, reports thisishertfordshire.co.uk.

He was sentenced last month to five years in prison for robbing two men in Cranford Park near Heathrow in September and October 2007.

After his conviction, a police spokesperson said that Halil had targeted men who use the park to meet for sex, thinking that they would be less likely to report his crimes.

Both victims went into the woods with Halil, where he threatened them with violence and then stole money from them. He told one of his victims: “I have a knife and I’ll stab you and kill you.”

Halil denied in court that he had robbed the men and claimed they had both approached him for sex.

He tried to flee the country before his trial but was detained at Stanstead Airport.

“You were convicted by a jury of two robberies on two men in Cranford Park in September and October last year,” Judge Usha Karu said, sentencing Halil, according to thisishertfordshire.co.uk.

“The jury rejected your account of being sexually assaulted by these men. It was patently obvious during your trial that you were targeting homosexuals for the purpose of robbing them, taking advantage of their vulnerabilities.

“You frightened your victim in September by threatening him with a knife saying you would stab him and kill him. This was for £20.

“In October your victim was physically assaulted and so terrified, despite being bigger and older than you, that he was unable to resist your demands for money.

“The level of intimidation and threat was significant. No doubt both victims suffered all the associated trauma and one of them says his life has changed completely.

“You attempted to flee the country and said you felt no guilt in your body. In my judgement you had planned these offences and careful considered your vulnerable targets.

“You committed these offences to humiliate and punish your victims.”

Police said that there had been no reported crimes in Cranford Park since Halil was taken into custody.

“We hope this gives the gay community confidence knowing that police treat all hate crimes seriously and we would encourage any other victims of crime from all communities to come forward and report incidents,” Detective Constable Adam Lewis of the Uxbridge Robbery Unit told thisishertfordshire.co.uk.