Teenager gets 43-month sentence for brick attack on rabbi
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Teenager gets 43-month sentence for brick attack on rabbi

Souraka Djabouri, 19, who viciously assaulted a Chigwell rabbi in May last year, has been sentenced to time in a youth offenders’ institution after pleading guilty.

Jenni Frazer is a freelance journalist

Undated handout photo issued by Essex Police of Souraka Djabouri, 19, who was sentenced at Chelmsford Crown Court to three years and seven months detention in a young offender institution, for an attack on rabbi Rafi Goodwin in Chigwell. Issue date: Friday August 5, 2022.
Undated handout photo issued by Essex Police of Souraka Djabouri, 19, who was sentenced at Chelmsford Crown Court to three years and seven months detention in a young offender institution, for an attack on rabbi Rafi Goodwin in Chigwell. Issue date: Friday August 5, 2022.

A teenager who viciously attacked a Chigwell rabbi in May last year has been sentenced by Chelmsford Crown Court to 43 months in a youth offenders’ institution, after pleading guilty to grievous bodily harm without intent, theft and aggravated criminal damage.

Souraka Djabouri, 19, admitted hitting Rabbi Rafi Goodwin over the head with a brick, in an assault after the rabbi stopped suddenly while driving, in order to avoid hitting a pedestrian who had walked out into the road from behind a parked van.

Djabouri, of Tudor Crescent, Ilford, first verbally abused the rabbi, invoking the fact that he was Jewish. Rabbi Goodwin drove off, but when he stopped at a junction, he found that Djabouri had followed him and had begun kicking at his car, damaging the wing mirror and the door.

The rabbi got out of the car to take pictures of Djabouri and another man who he believed were responsible for the damage. But he was assaulted with a brick and his phone was stolen. He needed urgent medical care as the assault necessitated stitches and resulted in serious swelling to his face and eye.

Djabouri and another man, 26-year-old Abderrahman Brahimi, were arrested by Essex Police, who treated the case as a hate crime. But prosecutors offered no evidence against Brahimi, and charges against him were dropped.

Djabouri pleaded guilty to grievous bodily harm, theft and criminal damage on July 6. Speaking before the sentencing, PC Thomas Tod, of Loughton CID, said: “Hate crime is a priority for Essex Police and it simply will not be tolerated. Our drive to secure justice in this case shows that. We work shoulder to shoulder with our Essex partners to take a tough stance against hatred, and we work closely with the CPS to make sure that, where we identify hate crime offenders, they are brought to justice.”

In a statement, the United Synagogue’s chief executive, Steven Wilson, said: “We know this has been an exceptionally hard time for Rabbi Rafi and we hope that today will bring some measure of closure for him. We know he has been so well supported by Chigwell and Hainault United Synagogue’s leadership and members, and by the community more widely. We are very grateful to everyone who has helped him and his wonderful family over this period.

“We wish Rabbi and Rebbetzen Goodwin much hatzlacha as they step up to become the new senior rabbinic couple of Chigwell and Hainault United Synagogue, and know they will do a wonderful job with a community who love them — and whom they love.”

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