Former rugby player jailed for 10 years after violent attacks on trans sex workers

A prisoner behind bars.

Former rugby player Buti Sashi has been jailed for 10 years after violent attacks on transgender sex workers.

According to BreakingNews.ie the two attacks, which took place in 2017, occurred in the homes of the victims in Dublin, Ireland.

Sashi, 26, who has played rugby for Blackrock, Liberty Saints and Guinness RFC, was reportedly armed with a large knife during both of the attacks, on 26 May 2017 and 28 June 2017 respectively.

During the first attack in May 2017, Sashi reportedly sexually assaulted and physically assaulted the victim before stealing her phone and laptop.

According to BreakingNews.ie, during the second attack Sashi and another man broke into the flat of another transgender sex worker, before assaulting her and taking two phones.

Victim ‘humiliated and destroyed’

At a hearing on Monday (17 October), Justice Eileen Creedon claimed the attacks were pre-meditated, and the victims were foreign nationals and vulnerable due to their occupations as sex workers.

In a victim statement from the first attack in May 2017, the woman said she was “totally humiliated and destroyed” after the incident.

“The only reason he stopped was there was so much blood and I think he was disgusted by the blood,” she added.

According to the statement she was emotionally and psychologically affected by the attack by the rugby player and had to move out of her flat, but returned to work in order to “support my family, especially my younger brother who is sick”.

‘Direct line between words and violent acts’

Sashi pled guilty to two counts of robbery, two of assault causing harm, one of sexual assault, and one of production of a weapon.

He was handed a 12-year sentence, with the final two years suspended on condition that he engages with Probation Services after his release.

The rugby player’s sentencing comes as a new government report found that hate crimes in England and Wales have hit a frightening new record high in 2022.

New statistics from the Home Office, published on 6 October, detailed at least 155,841 recorded hate crimes from March 2021 to March 2022, with figures suggesting transphobic hate crimes have gone up by a shocking 56 per cent.

According to Home Office statistician John Flatley, who was responsible for the report, the increase is partly due to “significant improvements” local police forces have made in recording and defining hateful attacks.

LGBTQ+ victim support group Galop, however, said in a statement that the data is the result of “transphobic narratives in the media and at a senior political level.”

“Let us be clear – there is a direct line between words and violent acts against our community, and [there] always has been,” the statement read.

“Hate crimes against LGBT+ people continue to be viewed as lesser in the eyes of the law, with far lower sentencing lengths than other forms of hate crime and no protection for trans people against those stirring up abuse.”

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