A SOMALIAN who sexually assaulted a 15-year-old girl at Torquay train station said it was a misunderstanding caused by ‘cultural differences’, a court has been told.
Ali Abdullahi, 34, committed two sex attacks against two females and made an approach to a third woman while catching the train from Torquay to Bristol.
Exeter Crown Court was told that despite his guilty pleas the security guard still had trouble admitting he had done anything wrong.
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 the judge who said the offences could not be put down to cultural differences and were simply sexually motivated.
Abdullahi was given a community order and told to attend a sex offender course designed to improve his conduct with young women.
The offences happened in December 2013.
Abdullahi approached a 15-year-old girl at the station and ‘behaved completely inappropriately’, the court was told.
“She was probably very frightened,” said Judge Cottle.
“Later that day you approached another slightly older victim who got on the train travelling towards Bristol Temple Meads,” the judge added.
“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 the incidents happened after the defendant, who came to the UK in 2011, had been tired after a long day’s work and he had been trying to ‘establish a rapport’ with the females and felt frustrated.
“There is work to be done in terms of him being frank with himself and understanding the different levels of acceptable conduct,” said the barrister.
“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 in the way this case reveals.
“It is not the first case of people coming to this country and society and feeling a combination of freedom on the one hand but not entirely properly understanding boundaries which can lead to a misunderstanding.”
Judge Cottle said if he sent the defendant, of Beggerswell Close, Bristol, to prison the sentence would be quite 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.