A man dubbed the "Hounslow slasher" and described as "every woman's nightmare" has been given an 18-year sentence.
Sasha Masamba, 21, attacked two women with knives as they walked home at night, leaving them with permanent scars around their face and neck. He was said to be particularly dangerous because there was no motive to the attacks which terrorised women in suburban streets in west London.
Masamba, of Hounslow, west London, pleaded guilty to two offences of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm. He was jailed at the Old Bailey for 18 years - four of them to be served on licence.
The Recorder of London, Judge Brian Barker, said: "This is a most disturbing case. Noticeably, there was no request for money or sexual intent. The deep concern is a lack of any rational explanation for these acts. The victims could easily have died because the knife wounds were near arteries."
The Old Bailey heard that, over 10 days in August last year, Masamba prowled the area around Hounslow station and on two occasions slashed women late at night. He was arrested at Hounslow station by new recruit Pc Rebecca Skinner on August 21 after she recognised his CCTV image which had been released to the media. His not guilty pleas to the attempted murders of Kaja Zablocka, 19, on August 7 and Deserilyn Aurelio, 26, 10 days later were accepted.
Bobbie Cheema, QC, prosecuting, told the court: "This defendant is every woman's nightmare - a man who arms himself with a knife and then prowls around late at night waiting for a lone female to attack. He targeted, followed and then assaulted the innocent women walking home from public transport." She said the women were attacked from behind. In one case, Masamba had been prowling around for three hours looking for a victim.
The first attack was on university student Miss Zablocka, 19, who had only been in Britain for two weeks. She was walking home from the station just before midnight after spending the evening with friends in the West End.
The man grabbed her throat and then said: "Sorry, I am only joking." She did not realise she had been cut but after he made off she felt dizzy and fell to her knees. Miss Zablocka was taken to hospital and had seven stitches to a 3cm wound. She also had a continuous cut stretching round her neck.
On August 17, Masamba attacked waitress Miss Aurelio as she was heading home from work in central London. He approached her from behind and she saw a breadknife as he slashed her across the chin.
Miss Cheema said she put up a fierce fight during which Masamba tried to stab her twice in the stomach. The knife was later found in a nearby street and had DNA from attacker and victim. She was said to be awaiting plastic surgery for a 5cm scar on her face. Both women were said to have been traumatised by the attacks and are afraid of going out alone at night.