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Friday, 14 August 2009

Off Duty Policewoman Sexually Assaulted in Nottingham Cinema

From This is Nottingham:

A MARRIED man who groped a woman in a cinema was soon arrested – because she was an off-duty police officer.

Mahesh Bhanji touched himself under a jumper as he watched the comedy Marley and Me, then began to stroke the officer's leg.

The officer left the cinema to call for back-up but arrested Bhanji herself when the film ended and he was about to leave.

She told Nottingham Magistrates' Court she had worked with sex offenders as part of her job but was left sick and dizzy when shock kicked in and she realised she had been a victim of sexual assault herself.

Bhanji, 53, of Oakington Close, Bestwood Estate, has been banned from entering any cinema for 18 months and will be on the sex offenders' register for five years.

He was given an 18-month community order, during which time he will be supervised by the probation service.

Bhanji, who pleaded guilty to sexual assault, had no previous convictions.

The assault took place at Cineworld, in Nottingham's Cornerhouse complex, on April 4.

Bhanji's victim had gone to see the film with another female officer.

Paul Hughes, prosecuting, said they sat in the back row because there was more leg room.

"There were only 40 people in the cinema, which was for 200 people, but he came and sat directly next to her on the back row," Mr Hughes said.

"He put a jumper over his groin and put his hand under there. The officers were suspicious. Then his hands started moving up and down during the film."

One-and-a-half hours into the film, he started leaning over towards the officer.

She leaned away, but then felt something on her leg. She saw that he was stroking her leg with his left hand, while his right hand was still moving under the jumper.

The female officer then left the cinema to report him, while her colleague remained inside to ensure he did not leave.

When the film ended, they both approached and arrested him. The other police officers then arrived.

Bhanji must pay £70 towards the legal costs of prosecuting the case.

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