Author Peter Paul Hartnett is to be awarded £500 from the High Sheriff of Greater London after he intervened in the attempted rape of a woman in a hotel room above his on September 13, 2017.
The author and photographer, who is known for his sharp focus the commercialised gay scene and beyond, was visiting London to mentor students when the incident happened.
Hartnett went upstairs to investigate what was happening and knocked on the door of the room from which he heard a woman screaming.
Harnett opened the door after he heard a muffled scream, and was met with a drunk naked man pinning a woman against the wall. Harnett reported that the woman seemed relieved to see him and immediately told him that the man, Akbar Abbasi, had tried to rape her.
Hartnett said, “I told another guest who was in the corridor to run to reception and get security, the police and paramedics. There was blood on the walls and I later found out this woman had broken ribs.
“When the security turned up they dealt with the man, though afterwards, he was abusive and aggressive towards me in the reception area. He tried to run away but he was caught.
“I stayed with the victim but the police took a while to arrive. At one point I had to go outside in my dressing gown and slippers so the police could find the right location.
“I first got involved at 10.45 pm and I finished giving evidence at 3.30 am. It was traumatic and I was in shock the following afternoon.”
The London Irish author and photographer was in the city to mentor a group of students of photography, fashion design and fashion journalism during September’s London Fashion Week.
“I believe we all have a duty to assist when there’s need. I’m glad I saved the young individual from rape,” Hartnett added.
Abbasi pleaded guilty in front of a judge and was sentenced to 50 months in prison.
His Honour Judge Blacksell QC praised Hartnett for his intervention in the attack, saying, “Mr Hartnett’s intervention protected this woman from the attack she was suffering. Many might have delayed or resisted taking the action he took, which without doubt saved this situation from being much more serious than it actually was.”
Peter Paul Hartnett was educated by Benedictine monks at Ealing Abbey’s St Benedict’s School in Ealing, West London. Last year, Harnett was one of the survivors of St Benedict’s who assisted Operation Winter Key, which is the overarching Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) response to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA). It provides specialist capacity and capability to investigate high profile or complex criminal investigations into non-recent child sexual abuse.
As an internationally published author, PP Hartnett has published many books and spoken word recordings that focus on sexual fixation and criminal abuse.
The award ceremony for the gay London Irish author will take place this Wednesday, October 17 in London’s Supreme Court, Parliament Square at 5 pm.
Hartnett’s latest book, I Shouldn’t, Must Stop, is to be released early next year.
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