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Delivery man denies sex assault

PUBLISHED: 14:28 11 April 2003 | UPDATED: 13:43 03 March 2010

AN asylum seeker accused of sexually assaulting an elderly woman said she reminded him of his grandmother.

The 65-year-old Kesgrave woman said the man had been delivering her meals on wheels when he reached over and squeezed her nipple two times.

AN asylum seeker accused of sexually assaulting an elderly woman said she reminded him of his grandmother.

The 65-year-old Kesgrave woman said the man had been delivering her meals on wheels when he reached over and squeezed her nipple two times.

Essam Ali, 23, of Ranelagh Road, Ipswich, denied two charges of indecent assault. He told Ipswich Crown Court through an Arab speaking interpreter, "Why would I do something like that to an elderly woman who was just like my grandmother?"

The woman, who had recently been widowed at the time of the incident, said Ali assaulted her and said "nice". Then a minute later he had noticed the woman's dog and said "dog" as if he was alarmed.

Ali told the court he was afraid of dogs and when he saw the woman's pet he had said: "Nice dog," hoping it would stay away.

The alleged victim, who was described as "articulate and intelligent", said Ali had kissed her cheek and held her hand. She said as she ushered Ali out of her bungalow he had handed her two pints of milk from the doorstep.

Ali told the court: "I only saw that she was an elderly woman who needed to be pitied, especially because of what we were doing, providing meals on wheels. I did not touch her at all. I cannot understand why I am here in court. I have been here (in England) for more than a year and I have not done anything wrong."

He said it was against his Muslim religion to disrespect an elderly woman.

After Ali left the woman's home she said she could not believe what had happened. She said she had felt particularly vulnerable since the attack because she realised it did not matter how many locks she had on the front door, she could still be attacked in her own home.

Jude Durr, defending Ali, urged the jury not to be prejudiced against the defendant.

"I know many people have strong views about asylum seekers in this country and because we are currently at war with a Muslim country, but please approach Mr Ali as if he was one of us in this case," he added.

The jury of seven women and five men are expected to retire to consider its verdict later today (Friday).


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