04:00PM, Thursday 16 November 2017
A man who grabbed a young girl’s ankle while she was getting changed at Windsor Leisure Centre has been spared jail.
Mohammed Anwar, of Concorde Way, Chalvey, appeared for sentencing at Reading Magistrates’ Court today (Thursday) after being found guilty of committing two sexual offences following a trial in September at the same court.
The charges relate to two separate incidents at the leisure centre in Stovell Road in April.
District judge Davinder Lachhar described the 38-year-old’s offences as ‘serious’ but decided to hand him a nine-month prison sentence, suspended for two years.
She also banned him from visiting Windsor Leisure Centre and Maidenhead’s Magnet Leisure Centre.
She told the court: “You have no previous convictions but these are serious offences against young girls when they were doing an activity that is supposed to enrich their lives.”
Anwar’s first victim had been getting changed in a cubicle in the mixed changing rooms when she felt a hand reach under the wall from the cubicle behind and grab her ankle.
The court heard how she backed away and continued to get changed before he reached out for a second time and grabbed her again.
A statement read out in court by prosecutor Clare Barclay on behalf of the victim said: “I haven’t been to the leisure centre since it happened and a lot of my friends won’t go either because of what happened to me.”
The court heard that three days after the first incident, a 16-year-old girl told staff that a man had tried to grab her ankle in the changing rooms.
Leisure staff called the police who then escorted Anwar away from the Jacuzzi area.
Anwar pleaded not guilty to the charges and told the court at his trial in a pre-prepared statement that his hand had been on the floor because he was searching for loose change that had fallen out of his tracksuit bottoms.
Anwar’s second victim said in a statement: “I want the man to realise how serious this is and I don’t think he does.”
After being convicted of intentionally sexually touching a girl under the age of 13 and attempting to sexually touch a woman aged 16 or over, Anwar was also placed on the Sex Offenders’ Register for five years.
Judge Lachhar ordered him to pay £775 costs, and £150 compensation to each victim who he is forbidden from contacting.
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