September 2019

Predator stalked girl, 15, before car park sex attack

A sex predator stalked a drunken 15-year-old through a car park on New Year’s Day before launching a terrifying sexual assault.

Nassar Iqbal could be seen on CCTV committing an indecent act on himself as he followed his victim, who was with a friend, through a Burnley underground car park at around 8.30am.

Preston Crown Court heard how the victim had been out celebrating with friends before she ended up in the car park with a male companion who passed out shortly before Iqbal approached the pair.

Prosecuting, Trevor Parry Jones said that 31-year-old Iqbal had spotted and stalked the pair before the offences were committed.

He said: “The victim, who was in the underground car park, remembers the defendant appearing from the stairwell saying ‘I have no friends, I am lonely, can I join you?’

“The victim agreed, but soon Iqbal started to touch her leg, which she described as ‘weird.’

“During the encounter he produced £25 from his pocket and she didn’t understand why. He gestured for her to take it and she did.

“He then put his hand down her top, touching her breasts. That was both under and over clothing. He then started to lick and suck her ear. She was uncomfortable and did not agree to what was taking place.”

It was later heard that Iqbal, of Castle Street, Nelson, exposed himself and tried to force the teenager to perform a sexual act on him.

Mr Parry Jones said: “She panicked. She moved away and said she didn’t want to do it.”

At this stage the victim took her phone out to call for help, but Iqbal snatched it from her hand. The court heard how he said to her: “If you aren’t going to do this, I want my money back.”

A person then appeared in the car park, prompting Iqbal to flee with the mobile. He was captured on CCTV running away from the car park.

The girl managed to find help and the police were called.

Officers later released a CCTV image of Iqbal and he was recognised by ‘an associate’ and arrested.

Mr Parry Jones said: “When he was interviewed he suggested she was offering sexual services for money and that it was all consensual. However that is far from the truth and, as viewed in his plea, he has accepted he was the prime mover.”

A swab was taken from the victim linking Iqbal’s DNA to her.

The prosecution said that during police enquiries, two women stepped forward and said that shortly before the attack, Iqbal had approached them as they were walking to work in the area. He offered them £50 but the pair told him to clear off.

In a victim impact statement read out in court, the girl said: “I did not deserve this and shouldn’t have to be still suffering the consequences of someone else’s actions.

“I don’t not know what will stop me feeling this way. I just want to get on with my life and be the person I was.”

Defending, Isobel Thomas said probation workers said the defendant had shown an abundance of remorse towards his victim.

She said: “This offence is out of character for him. He is a married man, his wife sits in the gallery and remains supportive of him despite these offences. He has a three-and-a-half-year old. He is a working man.”

Iqbal had pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual assault and one of theft.

Sentencing the Portuguese national to four years and 10 months in prison, Judge Beverley Lunt said the fact the victim was ‘under the influence of alcohol that morning does not mean she has any blame attaching to her.’

She said: “It merely means she was very vulnerable and there is no question that she did not consent to anything you did when you assaulted her and you knew that.

“There has been no explanation as to why you should sexually assault this 15-year-old girl in daylight and in a public place. That is very worrying.

“This was planned. You stalked her. She was vulnerable and you followed her for a significant distance – even waiting for her – that is predatory behaviour.”