sohail ashraf manchester

‘I woke up to my landlord laying in my bed and breathing down my neck’

SINGLE mum Donna* was delighted when she moved her children into a three-bed house – it was a step up from their previously tiny flat and the rent was affordable too.

Happily her landlord Sikander Khan, 61, seemed nice and helpful at the property in Greater Manchester.

But within weeks he showed his true colours when he became possessive and controlling.

Then he asked her if she wanted to start an affair.

When she said no, he waited until her children were asleep before using his keys to break into her home and get into her bed. She woke to his beard tickling her.

In July 2017, a neighbour told me that a big, three-bedroom house was available to rent on our street.

As soon as I saw it I knew I wanted it – it seemed perfect for me and my children.

So, after signing my name on the dotted line and collecting the keys from Sikander, I moved my family in.

The kids were so excited, they loved all the extra space.

Sikander was a perfect landlord too, keen to check everything was in order in our new home. I was grateful for his dedication.

He popped around a couple of times each week, often telling me he was just passing by.

A few weeks on, my twin boys were sitting on the front doorstep, chatting to their friends.

Suddenly, I heard a loud voice. ‘Move out the way! You shouldn’t be playing with these kids.’

It was Sikander.

I was about to go outside to confront him, but Sikander let himself in. ‘Your children aren’t allowed to invite those kids over here,’ he said.

I tried to calm down and smooth things over – the last thing I needed was to get us evicted.

But from that moment on, I dreaded Sikander’s visits.

In a matter of weeks, he turned from a devoted landlord into a controlling, possessive burden.

I was starting to feel like a guest in my own home, rather than a tenant.

One day, Sikander came to fix a leak in the roof.

I was working at the time, but he insisted on coming over the following day to show me how he’d repaired it.

As I leaned over to look, Sikander grabbed my bum. Then he suggested we have an affair.

I hadn’t given him any reason to believe I was interested. He was old enough to be my dad.

After he left, I called the council asking them to rehome us, and they agreed to investigate.

In the meantime, I felt extremely uncomfortable whenever Sikander visited.

I hoped he’d feel embarrassed and stay away. Only he didn’t.

The next day, I saw him looming behind the frosted glass of my front door.

He knocked and I hid.

He continued to turn up unannounced, sometimes late at night when my children were fast asleep.

I used to feel obliged to let him in, but now I was through with being polite.

One night, in October 2017, I came home from work feeling utterly exhausted.

I kissed my children goodnight, before settling down into bed, grateful for an early night.

After changing into my nightie, I slipped under the duvet, drifting off to sleep.

But at around 11pm, I woke up suddenly. Something was tickling the back of my neck.

Someone was lying beside me in the dark. Their beard had been brushing the back of my neck.

Realising who it was, I felt sick to my stomach.

I screamed, leaping out of bed. They jumped up, too. It was Sikander.

‘What the hell are you doing?’ I shouted hysterically. ‘You’re sick!’

Sikander then put his finger to his lips and whispered: ‘Shhhh!’

‘Get out!’ I screamed, terrified and confused as to how he’d ended up here.

Then, my eldest daughter burst in. Spotting Sikander, her jaw dropped.

‘Call the police!’ I cried.

‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry,’ Sikander said, ‘I checked to see if your kids were asleep first.’

It transpired that Sikander had used his own key to let himself into my home, checking on my kids before sneaking into my room.

The thought of him anywhere near my children made my skin crawl.  I felt completely violated.

The one place I should have felt safe was in my own bed.

‘Get out!’ I screamed and Sikander quickly fled.

I locked the door and dialled 999. It felt like I’d just woken up from a nightmare.

Sikander must have watched us, waiting until we were all asleep.

If I hadn’t woken up, who knows what would have happened. He could have raped me.

But, despite me calling the police, they didn’t turn up.

The next day, Sikander bombarded me with phone calls.

He sent texts stating I owed him rent, and told me that was the reason he’d let himself in. It was a pack of lies.

When I didn’t respond, he turned up outside my house.

Fearing for the safety of me and the children, I dragged the sofa in front of the door.

There was no way he was getting in this time.

I called the police again, but there was still no sign of them.

I knew we needed to move out – we weren’t safe.

Finally, four days after reporting Sikander, the police arrived to take my statement. I felt so let down.

They couldn’t even give me an answer as to why they took so long.

Later that day, Sikander was arrested.  But it didn’t stop there.

People who knew him banged on the doors and windows, trying to intimidate me and the kids.

‘Retract your statement!” they shouted through my letterbox.

One day, a letter was posted through my door.

I was horrified to read the chilling words.

‘We know your date of birth, but do we know your date of death? Until we meet again.’

Eventually, whilst Sikander awaited trial, I was moved to a secure location.

I tried to keep it together for the kids, but I was falling apart.

I could still feel Sikander’s long, bristly beard stroking my neck when I lay in bed at night.

Finally, in June this year, Sikander Khan appeared at Manchester’s Minshull Street Crown Court.

Despite denying all allegations against him, a jury found him guilty of trespassing with intent to commit a sexual offence.

He was sentenced to four years in prison and ordered to sign the Sexual Harm Prevention Order for life.

He was also made subject of an indefinite restraining order preventing him from contacting or coming near me ever again.

I was relieved to see him behind bars, but there were so many failings allowing him to get away with a measly four-year sentence.

I hope my story can raise awareness for other women who are experiencing similar behaviour.

Please be vigilant and report any concerning behaviour immediately.

*Donna’s name has been changed