Iranian asylum seeker claims he was told to grope UK women

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An Iranian asylum seeker thought the way to communicate with women was to grope them, Calderdale magistrates were told.

Mohammed Bagherifard fondled women through their clothing after being told that was normal in the UK.

Bagherifard, 30, of Stirling Street, Halifax, admitted three charges of sexual assault on females and one charge of common assault on a male.

He has been in the country a couple of months and at first resided with other asylum seekers at Angel Lodge, Wakefield.

Lisa Beadle, prosecuting, said on July 24 while at that hostel he rubbed a woman’s bottom and later in the day she was walking with her friend when Bagherifard followed them and jumped on that friend and fondled her also.

A passer-by Sulayman Dar saw that incident and claimed he saw another two women assaulted by Bagherifard.

When Mr Dar approached him Bagherifard swung a punch at him but missed and Mr Dar punched back in self-defence and made contact.

Bagherifard moved to Halifax and on August 5 a promotional girl outside a town centre bar was handing out leaflets when he touched her bottom and slid his hand down her leg.

The victim did not report him at that time but later this month saw him touch another female’s bottom and reported him to police.

Miss Beadle said Bagherifard had no ties to the UK and was a sexual predator and if given bail he might flee or commit further offences.

Malcolm Nowell, mitigating, said he came from a country with very strict laws.

“It appears that he thought the rules were more relaxed in this country. That in no way excuses the offending,” said Mr Nowell.

“But, he is a young man seeking the company of females and took the view that was how to approach females.

“He was given information by people in nightclubs as to how to communicate with females and merely put that into action.

“He now recognises just how wrong that was and is now more aware of how to conduct himself in this country.

“He is anxious to show he can be a responsible member of this society.”

Bagherifard, who was also represented by an interpreter, was remanded in custody to next appear on September 9 for sentencing once reports have been prepared.