Friday, May 10, 2019

Indian jailed in UK for sexual assault on plane

London:An Indian travelling to the UK on a tourist visa has been jailed for 12 months for carrying out a "prolonged" sexual assault on a young woman during a long-haul flight from Mumbai to Manchester earlier this year.
Hardeep Singh, 36, will be deported back to India at the end of his sentence.
The court heard that on February 23, the woman in her 20s was aboard the flight from Mumbai and Singh was in the seat to one side of her, the officer said.

He was visiting Britain on a six-month tourist visa. Upon boarding the aircraft in Mumbai, Singh tried to engage the woman in conversation. She tried to be polite but began to feel uncomfortable and could not understand him as he did not speak English clearly, she said.

While attempting to engage her in conversation during the course of the flight, Singh asked her whether the woman sat on the other side of her was her mother and – while she was watching a film – removed her headphones and tried to talk to her again, the court was told.

When she got up to use the facilities, Singh refused to move aside so she could get to the aisle comfortably, forcing her to squeeze past him. After the lights on the aircraft were turned down, due to the time of the flight, the woman and the other passengers around her went to sleep under their blankets, the officer said.

The woman woke to find Singh sexually assaulting her. She tried to push him away but he persisted, forcing his hands underneath her clothing and underwear, rubbing his hands on her body, as well as trying to kiss her, the court hearing was told.

Everyone else around her on the aircraft was asleep. She repeatedly told him to stop and tried to remove his hands. She attempted to move away but Singh hooked her legs off the ground so she couldn't get up. She felt isolated and vulnerable as everyone else was asleep and she couldn't see any cabin crew around to help, the officer said.

The assault lasted for around 15 minutes before she was able to struggle free and move to the back of the plane where she reported Singh to a member of the cabin crew, the court was told.
He was moved away from the woman for the remainder of the flight and cabin crew contacted local Manchester police, whose officers were waiting at the Manchester Airport when the plane landed. Singh was arrested on suspicion of sexual assault and initially denied the offences.

10/05/19 PTI/Times of India

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