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Up-skirter in Burnley store claimed to have dropped his prayer beads

Burnley Magistrates' Court
Burnley Magistrates' Court
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An "up-skirter" who targeted a shopper and left her feeling "sexually violated," has been given a community order.

Convicted sex attacker Abdul Rofik had gone down on his hands and knees and peered up the woman's dress. The victim, who was not wearing any knickers, was browsing around around T K Maxx in Burnley, at lunchtime.

Rofik, a 35-year old ex-drug addict, claimed to police he had dropped his prayer beads on the floor, but CCTV showed him placing his head directly beneath her dress and looking up.

The town's magistrates were told how the first thing the woman had known about what was going on was when she felt something touch the back of her leg. She was horrified when she turned round to find Rofik on all fours behind her.

Mrs Tracy Yates (prosecuting) said the victim told police she does not wear underwear.

Mrs Yates added: "She says this man would have been able to view her private area and this made her feel even more violated and disgusted. She says she was shocked when it happened, but as time has gone on, she is absolutely mortified and distressed about it all."

Mrs Yates said at about 1-30pm, staff at the store detained the defendant and called the police. Rofik claimed he had dropped his prayer beads on the floor behind the victim and had not looked up her skirt.

The prosecutor said CCTV showed Rofik looking furtively around him, walking towards the woman and looking around furtively again. He then went down on all fours, placed his head directly beneath the victim's skirt and looked up. Rofik was removed from the store so the victim could be spoken to.

Mrs Yates continued: "She said she felt something touch the back of her lower leg, immediately turned round and saw him on all fours on the floor behind her. As soon as she spun round, the male got up quickly.

"Security told her to stay in the store as the male had been caught on CCTV. She then saw security told hold of the male and take him back to the door. She felt shocked and horrified and feels he has sexually violated her."

The prosecutor said the defendant was interviewed and told police: "I did try to have a look, yeah. I looked up her skirt."

She told the court Rofik said he did not look up the woman's skirt for sexual gratification.

She added: "He accepted his behaviour is not normal and said he doesn't know why he did it, but he will not do it again." The court was told the defendant had 31 convictions for 55 offences, including sexual assault in 2006.

Mr Keith Rennison (defending) said it was clearly a very distressing incident for the victim.

The solicitor said: "The probation service feel they can work with him, to try and establish why he does this kind of thing and help him with his thinking skills, particularly regarding sexual urges and his attitude towards women."

Mr Rennison told the court Rofik, who had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, had managed to control his drug habit.

Rofik, of Merton Street, Burnley, admitted using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour to cause harassment, alarm or distress, on July 18th.

He was given a 12-month community order, with a 30-day rehabilitation activity requirement and was fined £80. The defendant must pay the victim £50 compensation for the distress he caused her and £120 in costs and victim surcharge.