Migrant’s child sex attack blamed on ‘cultural differences’: Somalian who claimed he misunderstood boundaries given community order
- Ali Abdullahi, 34, tried to kiss a 15-year-old girl on a station platform
- He also lunged at a female passenger on a train journey
- Told police he came from conservative culture and misunderstood sexual boundary
- But his mitigation was rejected by a judge who gave him community order
A Somalian migrant molested a child at a train station in a misunderstanding caused by ‘cultural differences’, a court heard.
Ali Abdullahi, 34, tried to kiss a 15-year-old girl on a station platform, lunged at a female passenger on a train journey and made an approach at another woman.
But despite pleading guilty to the attacks, the security guard, who came to Britain in 2011, still has trouble admitting he did anything wrong, the court heard.
He told police he came from a conservative culture and misunderstood the sexual boundary between men and women in the UK.
But his mitigation was rejected by a judge who said the offences could not be put down to cultural differences and were simply sexually motivated at a hearing on Friday.
Abdullahi was given a community order and told to attend a sex offender course to improve his conduct with women following the offences in December 2013.
Exeter Crown Court heard that Abdullahi approached a 15-year-old girl at Torquay train station, Devon, and ‘behaved completely inappropriately’.
‘She was probably very frightened,’ Judge Graham Cottle said.
He added: ‘Later that day you approached another slightly older victim who got on the train travelling towards Bristol Temple Meads.
‘You behaved completely inappropriately towards her.
‘The sex offending was not of the most serious kind but would have been extremely frightening to both girls.’
Abdullahi then approached a third woman, a student, at the station in Bristol. She made no complaint of physical contact but had been left worried by his conversation.
Adrian Chaplin, mitigating, said Abdullahi comes from Somalia but came to Britain via Kenya in 2011, and has a wife who is currently living in Ethiopia.
At the time of the offences he had been tired after a day at work and felt frustrated as he was trying to ‘establish a rapport’ with the females, Mr. Chaplin said.
He added: ‘There is work to be done in terms of him being frank with himself and understanding the different levels of acceptable conduct.
‘He comes from a conservative culture in Somalia and misunderstands the extent to which ordinary polite engagement and interaction should or should not be seen as a precursor towards seeking to be physically close to someone.
‘It is not the first case of people coming to this country and society and feeling a combination of freedom but not entirely properly understanding boundaries which can lead to a misunderstanding.’
Judge Cottle said if he sent the defendant, of St Pauls, Bristol, to prison, the sentence would be short and he would come out an untreated sex offender.
The Thames Valley Sex Offenders Treatment Programme was a demanding course, he said, and would be part of a three-year community order with supervision.