An Iranian asylum seeker who groped Halifax women’s bottoms because the UK is a “more permissive society” than his own, laughed as he was sentenced to 24 weeks behind bars for sex offences.
Mohammed Bagherifad admitted thee counts of sexual assault on a female and one count of common assault before Calderdale magistrates who later told him that he must sign on to the sex offenders register and is likely to be deported as a result of his actions.
The court was told that since the 30-year-old defendant had entered the country in July, he began his offending in Wakefield - where he was residing with other asylum seekers at a hostel.
It was there that he rubbed a woman’s bottom who later witnessed him fondling her friend after he’d followed the pair - both in their thirties - while they had been out walking.
A male passer-by went on to approach the defendant who then swung a punch at him but missed.
The court heard that Bagherifad, of Stirling Street, Halifax, was transferred to the town and that on August 5 targeted a 19-year-old girl who was working for a nightclub in the town centre.
“He rubbed her on her bottom and slipped his hand down her leg,” stated the prosecution.
At the time she didn’t report the matter to the police but was later told by a female colleague that she’d also been touched by the defendant.
The 19-year-old saw Bagherifad in the town centre again, the court was told, touching female’s bottoms and went on to ring the police with a description of the man who - after being failed to be located on that occasion - was spotted by the teen again on August 25 when that time the police were able to track him down.
In a victim personal statement read out by the prosecution, it was revealed that the nightclub worker “was scared when he had the creepy smile on his face.”
“I think his behaviour’s totally unacceptable,” the statement added, while the defendant was told off by magistrates for smiling as he stood in the dock.
Mitigating, Malcolm Nowell said: “I know that he’d wish on his behalf for me to apologise sincerely for the distress he caused to each of the complainants.”
Mr Nowell added that a pre-sentence report made reference to the fact that in Iran he has no understanding of the feelings of women.
He said: “It’s no excuse. He, I’m afraid, looked on the UK as a more permissive society - which it certainly is - but that did not give him the right to commit the offences.
“He’s had time to reflect and understands entirely that these are actions which must not be repeated in the future.” Chief magistrate George Salter said: “He seems to have thought he’s on his holidays when he came to Wakefield and Halifax and could do anything he wanted to.”
Sentencing, he added: “We feel these offences are extremely serious.”
After sentencing him to a jail term of 24 weeks, Mr Salter said: “You’ll serve your sentence and the likelihood is that you’ll be asked to leave the country.”