September 30th, 2016

‘Sexual nuisance’ in Coventry city centre targeted girls and woman

Updated: 4:45 pm, Jun 22, 2015

A ‘SEXUAL nuisance’ who targeted girls and a young woman in Coventry city centre has been ordered to take part in a sex offender’s treatment programme.

Meron Girmay had pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court to charges of sexual assault and affray, and also admitted an offence of stalking.

Girmay (36) who was living at the Salvation Army hostel in Coventry at the time, was given a three-year community order with three years supervision.

Judge Andrew Lockhart QC also ordered him to take part in a three-year sex offender programme and to live where directed by the probation service.

Prosecutor Simon Worlock had told the court at an earlier hearing that Girmay had been ‘making a nuisance of himself in Coventry city centre for a number of months and making comments and suggestions towards young women.’

In July last year a 27-year-old woman was on her way to work at 8.30am, and noticed Girmay behind her when she stopped to use the Coventry Building Society cash machine in High Street.

She did not think anything of it at first, but when she then walked along Broadgate and into the precinct, she became concerned because he was following so close behind her.

So she went into the Boots store in Lower Precinct, and Girmay followed her up the escalator to the first floor where she spoke to the pharmacist, who thought they must be together because they were so close to each other.

When she then went back down, he was so close that she said it was ‘like shopping with a friend,’ and she told him to ‘f*** off’ as he kept telling her ‘I want you.’

The woman returned to the pharmacist, and Girmay left as the manager assisted her and escorted her out of the store.

But he was waiting for her in the precinct and, despite her pleas for him to leave her alone, followed her along Spon Street to a car park where she saw a man she knew.

The distressed woman asked him for help, and Girmay left when the man told him in blunt terms to go away.

In early August a woman and her partner were talking to members of her family on a Sunday afternoon when she turned and saw Girmay blatantly lifting her ten-year-old daughter’s dress up above her waist from behind.

The horrified mother told him to get off her, but Girmay just looked at her with a grin on his face and continued to hold the girl’s dress up.

After being told again to stop, he staggered back a few steps – only to begin following the mother as she took the girl’s hand a quickly walked away.

A few days later the woman happened to be in McDonalds in the city centre when three 13-year-old girls came running in.

They had been there with friends when one of them had gone outside to check the bus times, and as she did so she was approached by Girmay who had asked her: “Do you want sex.”

Scared he was going to attack her, she rushed back inside and two of her friends then went out with her to check the times – only for Girmay to repeat his comment to her.

After they ran back in, one of them called the police – and the mother, who had recognised Girmay, told officers who arrested him what had happened to her daughter.

It was only after he had been remanded in custody that he was questioned about the first incident, and when he was shown a CCTV recording he accepted it was him but denied wanted to cause the woman any harm.

Referring to a pre-sentence report recommendation for Girmay to be ordered to take part in a sex offenders’ treatment programme, his barrister Laura Culley said: “He needs a greater understanding of acceptable sexual behaviour.”

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