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Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Married father found guilty of assaulting a teenage girl to be sentenced in February

A married dad intoxicated on the prescription drug Zopiclone has been found guilty of assaulting a teenager on a train.

Arshad Urfan, 43, formerly of Weastell Street in Linthorpe but now homeless, approached the 17-year-old on the Transpennine Express service between York and Middlesbrough. He asked about her phone before sitting on the seat on the other side of the table.

The victim revealed how she first saw him sitting near a woman on the train in December 2020, before she got off at Yarm.

The girl told Teesside Magistrates Court he then started commenting on a drawing she was doing and asked if she had a boyfriend. At this point the man reached under the table and touched her knee.

She said: “He was putting his hand under the table and putting it on my leg.

“After I tried to move it away, he started playing with my feet with his feet.”

The frightened teenager quickly began texting a friend adding: “I messaged her saying I was scared and didn’t know what to do, there was a man sat opposite me putting his hand on my knee.”

In a supporting statement her friend said: “I was trying to keep her calm and telling her to breathe.”

It seems the boyfriend of the victim sent a text asking if she was OK – when she eventually left the train her father contacted the police.

the suggestion was made during cross-examination, the victim in panic, may have “misunderstood” the touching of her leg was sexual or intentional.

The girl replied “no”.

The man had told police officers he’d reached seven on a scale of intoxication after taking prescription drugs. When asked about his moving seats he responded by commenting: “That’s what people do on trains.”

In court, Urfan was asked why the girl would have lied about the incident – he said: “I haven’t got a clue.

“If I had touched her and she was so petrified, she would have phoned someone in authority.

“I am a married man and I have got a three-year-old child, I don’t need to touch teenagers.

“There were three seats and a table between us, I didn’t think I was encroaching on her space.”

District Judge Marie Mallon said the victim’s account was “entirely credible” and was backed up by the messages sent to her friend.

She also told Urfan there had been “no need” for him to move next to the teenage girl that day.

 

The case was adjourned for a report to be prepared by the Probation Service.

Urfan was granted unconditional bail until February 18, when he will be sentenced.

 

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