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A sex offender who targeted two young women on the London Underground has been handed an 18-month suspended sentence following a British Transport Police (BTP) investigation.
Lirim Nela, 33, and of Pickering Road, London, appeared at Inner London Crown Court on Wednesday 28 April where he pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual assault.
On Friday 28 May, a judge at Inner London Crown Court sentenced him to 18 months imprisonment, suspended for 24 months. He was also issued a 10-year Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO) and is required to pay each victim compensation of £500.
Nela will also be on an electronically monitored curfew between the hours of 7pm and 5am for five months.
On the evening of 3 July 2018, Nela’s first victim was travelling on-board a Central Line Tube near Leyton when she felt something shunting into her back.
This continued before the victim turned around to discover that Nela was pushing his crotch into her back. She then confronted him and a member of public intervened to suggest she contact the police.
A few months later, on 11 October 2018, three BTP plain-clothed officers situated on the platform at Oxford Circus Underground station observed Nela stood back on the platform looking at women around him.
A group of people then arrived at the platform and boarded an eastbound Central Line service. Nela boarded the same Tube and was followed by the officers.
The officers observed Nela pushing his groin into an individual within the group – a 15-year-old girl. He was also seen to touch himself inappropriately over his tracksuit bottoms on a number of occasions before the officers removed him from the service.
Nela was subsequently arrested and taken to police custody where he was interviewed through an Italian interpreter. In interview, he denied sexually assaulting the 15-year-old girl and claimed the witnessing officers were mistaken.
He was further arrested in connection to the sexual assault that took place in July 2018 by BTP officers on Friday 2 November 2018.
BTP Detective Constable, Ming-Xia Powell, said: “Neal’s behaviour was odious and wholly unacceptable – he imposed himself upon two separate victims for his own sexual gratification.
“I would like to personally thank the victims for assisting the investigation. Their help was vital in bringing him to justice.
“I would urge anyone subjected to, or witness to, unwanted sexual behaviour on the railway to report it to us – no report is too small or insignificant and we will always take you seriously.
“To do this, please text 61016 or call 0800 40 50 40. In an emergency, always dial 999.”