Jail for man who sexually assaulted Brentwood teen on the underground

Khurram Shahzad

Khurram Shahzad

First published in News Brentwood Weekly News: Matt Abbott by , Chief Reporter

A MAN has been jailed and placed on the sex offenders register after he twice sexually assaulted a Brentwood teenager while on-board the London Underground.

Khurram Shahzad of York Road, Ilford, was sentenced on Wednesday, 13 August at Blackfriars Crown Court after pleading guilty at an earlier hearing to two counts of sexual assault and one count of harassment.

He was jailed for 21 months and placed on the sex offender register for 10 years.

Shahzad first assaulted the victim - a 17-year-old from Brentwood - on-board a crowded morning Tube train, approaching her from behind and assaulting her while other passengers stood close by, oblivious to what was happening.

The victim was so scared she was unable to react. When she tried to move away from Shahzad, he followed her around the crowded carriage. She got off the train at Oxford Circus but didn't report the incident.

Then three days later, on Tuesday, September 3, the same victim was travelling on a westbound Central Line train at a similar time when she was again assaulted by Shahzad in a busy carriage.

The attack last several minutes and again, the victim was unable to escape due to other passengers being stood close by.

The court heard how the victim saw Shahzad again every morning for the following three days, on her morning commute into central London. On those occasions she saw him before he was able to stand close to her and she was able to travel in separate parts of the train.

The victim then reported the incidents to police and, on Wednesday, 11 September, plain clothes BTP detectives accompanied her on her usual route to work and she identified Shahzad during the journey and he was arrested straight away.

Detective Sergeant Anna Fisk, from British Transport Police’s Project Guardian team, said: "These attacks were not opportunistic but predatory, with Shahzad singling-out his victim and targeting her over a number of days.

"Understandably this was a very frightening experience for the victim. I would like to personally thank her for coming forward and reporting the incidents to the police and for her co-operation throughout our investigation.

"We will always fully investigate all reports of sexual offences and encourage victims to come forward."

According to the TfL safety and security survey, around 15 per cent of females have experienced unwanted sexual behaviour on the network, with the majority not reporting it to police. One of the most common reasons for not reporting it is because they didn’t think it was serious enough.

To help combat this problem, Project Guardian focuses on increasing awareness and confidence amongst the public to report unwanted sexual behaviour to the police or members of staff, particularly those offences which are often unreported, such as sexual touching, exposure, outraging public decency, lewd comments, leering and harassment.

There are around 2,000 police officers and PCSOs dedicated to patrolling London’s transport network, who have been specially trained to deal with cases of unwanted sexual behaviour.

Every day plain clothes and high-visibility officers continue to patrol the network to identify offenders and prevent crime.

BTP’s 61016 text number gives victims and witnesses a discreet way to report sexual offences.

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