‘Just don’t touch my baby’: How heavily pregnant Muslim mum fought to save her unborn child’s life

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A heavily pregnant Muslim woman viciously attacked by a stranger at a Sydney cafe feared being killed if others did not intervene, a court has heard.

Rana Elasmar, 32, was 38-weeks’ pregnant when Stipe ‘Steven’ Lozina approached her, punched her several times and then stomped on her head at Bay Vista in Parramatta in November 2019.

She told the Parramatta District Court on Tuesday she deliberately turned her abdomen away from her attacker and prayed for God to protect her child.

Rana Elasmar, 32, was 38-weeks' pregnant when Stipe 'Steven' Lozina approached her, punched her several times and then stomped on her head

Rana Elasmar, 32, was 38-weeks’ pregnant when Stipe ‘Steven’ Lozina approached her, punched her several times and then stomped on her head

‘If nobody intervened, I could have been killed,’ she said, tearing up.

‘I remember thinking – hit my head as long as you don’t touch my baby.’

Ms Elasmar, who was wearing a hijab at the time, said the 44-year-old man first asked for money before assaulting her and yelling ‘you Muslims wrecked my mum’.

‘No woman should excuse a man of such behaviour – it is our right to decide what do with our bodies,’ she said.

‘Islamophobia needs to end. Violence against women needs to stop.’

Following the ‘vicious and unprovoked’ attack, the bruised woman could not chew her food and suffered lingering migraines and headaches.

Stipe 'Steven' Lozina

Stipe ‘Steven’ Lozina 

Lozina, who appeared before Judge Christopher Craigie without legal representation on Tuesday, said he attacked Ms Elasmar because she did not give him money.

He then engaged in a bizarre exchange with crown prosecutor Sara Gul, first asking if she was Filipino, calling her ‘dumb’ and refusing to answer several direct questions about whether he hated Muslims.

‘I don’t hate them,’ Lozina eventually said.

‘But I don’t get on with them. I have no business with them.’

The offender also said he was a ‘chronic paranoid schizophrenic’ and that he felt remorseful for what happened.

‘I belong in a hospital,’ he told the court.

Ms Gul told the court Lozina had also been convicted of verbally abusing two Muslim women at a shopping centre six weeks prior to his assault of Ms Elasmar.

Judge Craigie said the attack was ‘wicked and deplorable’ and that the matter was ‘one of the more difficult cases’ he had faced in a long time.

‘You have no lawyer, you are obviously unwell, and committed a very serious offence, which rightfully appals people,’ he said.

Lozina, who pleaded guilty in June to assault occasioning actual bodily harm on Ms Elasmar, will next face court on October 1.

Bay Vista cafe in Parramatta, in Sydney's west

Bay Vista cafe in Parramatta, in Sydney’s west 

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