Pensioner, 71, accused of rubbing himself against a sightseer outside Buckingham Palace is cleared after insisting he was just trying to get a better view of the Changing of the Guard
- Rachid Nejjar allegedly crept up behind 4 young women watching ceremony
- Plain clothes police say they spotted 71-year-old fiddling with his trousers
- He allegedly closed in behind a woman and rubbed his genitals against her
- Nejjar found not guilty of 1 count of sexual assault at Southwark Crown Court
By Mark Duell for MailOnline
Published: 16:53, 12 December 2016
A pensioner accused of rubbing himself against a sightseer outside Buckingham Palace was cleared today after claiming he was just trying to get a better view of the Changing of the Guard.
Rachid Nejjar, 71, allegedly crept up behind four young women watching the ceremony at The Royal Mews in London.
Plain clothes police say they spotted Nejjar fiddling with his trousers before he closed in behind a woman at the railings and rubbed his genitals against her bottom in a ‘slow thrusting motion’.
When a uniformed officer spoke to the Moroccan man about his behaviour he allegedly ‘walked off at speed’ before he was arrested at Constitution Hill.
Police say they saw Nejjar engaged in a ‘deliberate pattern of behaviour’ as he moved up behind women without paying any attention to the ceremony.
But Nejjar, who gave evidence through a French interpreter, maintained his poor vision accounted for his ‘unintentional’ movements and said he is ‘disappointed that anyone would think that of him’.
The bespectacled tourist from Casablanca, Morocco, denied one count of sexual assault on July 18 and was cleared by a jury at Southwark Crown Court today.
Plain clothes police say they spotted Nejjar fiddling with his trousers at The Royal Mews (file picture) before he closed in behind a woman at the railings and rubbed his genitals against her.
Kirsty Brimelow QC, for Nejjar, said: ‘The allegation is you went behind a woman and rubbed your penis against her bottom.
‘Did you notice whether there was a woman in front of you just before the end of the changing of the guards?’
He answered: ‘No, no. Honestly I don’t remember anything of somebody being there because for me it was just for the ceremony.’
Miss Brimelow continued: ‘Did you see a woman and rub your penis against her bottom sexually, deliberately?’
Nejjar replied: ‘No, absolutely not.’ The pensioner said of his arrest: ‘I was petrified. It was the first time ever this is happening to me in 72 years of life.’
When asked if he had been fiddling with his private parts during the ceremony, he said he had been tucking his baggy T-shirt into his trousers.
Prosecutor Nigel May asked: ‘Were you looking, instead of looking at the Changing of the Guard, looking at females in the crowd?’
Nejjar said: ‘I was there to watch the Changing of the Guard and that’s what I was doing. I don’t have any other reason to be looking at women.’
Ceremony: Nejjar said he was ‘there to watch the Changing of the Guard and that’s what I was doing’. He added: ‘I don’t have any other reason to be looking at women’ (file image)
Mr May continued: ‘Well the reason I suggest was you were looking for a woman, a young woman on their own.
‘Do you agree or disagree with the next proposition, which is you went up behind a succession of four different young women?’
The defendant replied: ‘I repeat I was there trying to watch the ceremony and trying to find a good spot for a better view.’
Mr May moved on to the alleged assault and asked: ‘Do you agree or disagree? You pushed your hips forward into the female in front in a slow thrusting motion.’
Nejjar said: ‘That’s the samereally I have for you sir, the same thing, do you want me to repeat?’
Mr May continued: ‘Disagree. Do you agree or disagree? You then moved your hips from side to side, rubbing your penis against the female’s bottom.’
He answered: ‘Completely disagree.’
Nejjar, who lives in Casablanca, Morocco, is said to regularly visit the UK and was staying with his son in Holland Park at the time.