Man took legal high 'Happy Joker' before sexual assault 'spree' in Northampton town centre

Hiron Ali has been ordered to carry out an alcohol rehabilitation course after he carried out a series of sexual assaults in Northampton.
Hiron Ali has been ordered to carry out an alcohol rehabilitation course after he carried out a series of sexual assaults in Northampton.
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A man who went around Northampton on a two-hour groping spree was out of his mind on a legal high called Happy Joker, a court heard.

Former waiter Hiron Ali, 59, had a clean criminal record until April 22 last year when he entered the McDonald's in The Drapery and sexually assaulted a female employee by touching her bum, Northampton Crown Court heard.

But two days later, having been released on bail for the earlier offence, Ali embarked on a bizarre string of sexual assaults in Northampton town centre against three women and two children.

After inappropriately touching a woman outside Marks & Spencer on Abington Street, he then moved o the Drapery, grabbing the breasts of a woman who passed him by while "smiling".

He did the same to another woman in The Drapery, who watched as he carried on along the busy road "randomly grabbing women and children."

Finally, in Primark in the Grosvenor Centre, he "stroked" the back of an 11-year-old girl, before moving to the children's section and touching the arm of an eight-year-old boy.

Appearing for sentencing at Northampton Crown Court, Judge Timothy Smith accepted the 59-year-old's actions must have been influenced by the taking of a legal high called 'Happy Joker.'

He said to Ali: "You began to use legal highs, in particular, a legal high known as Happy Joker.

"This is an unfortunate name as nobody would have been happy with the consequences."

Ali, who has lived in the UK since the age of 16, was described as an "isolated" character, who had a history of alcohol abuse.

He started attending the Hope Centre in Northampton from February last year, but he has been remanded in HMP Woodhill since he committed the offences last April.

As a result, Judge Smith did not impose a further prison sentence. Instead he enlisted Ali on a two-year alcohol treatment order. He was not made subject to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order.

he added: "There is strong support for the conclusion that your behaviour could have been caused by the drugs that you were taking."

Mitigating for him, Caroline Bray, said the incident was completely out of character for Ali, who had fallen on hard times having lost his job two years prior.

She said: "The probation officer on the day of his arrest described him as animal-like.

"But other than that time, he has been nothing but a gentleman."