Hotel porter caught trying to fly to Pakistan days before sex assault trial at Northampton Crown Court

Judge jails 39-year-old who sneaked into woman's room in early hours of morning

Monday, 28th June 2021, 7:29 am
Updated Monday, 28th June 2021, 7:30 am

A night porter sneaked into a woman's room in a posh Northamptonshire hotel before climbing on top of her and biting her neck.

Zeshan Akhtar walked into the room at the four star Talbot Hotel in Oundle where he had been working and pinned the woman's arms above her head so he could carry out his assault.

Northampton Crown Court heard on Thursday (June 24) that the woman had noticed Akhtar, 39, staring at her uncomfortably in the hotel bar that evening in early 2018, and that he had been sent home earlier on as a manager saw him in the bar and believed he was drunk. He had only been working there for a week.

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Akhtar sneaked into the woman's room at the four-star Talbot Hotel
Akhtar sneaked into the woman's room at the four-star Talbot Hotel

In the early hours, the woman had gone up to her room, got changed, and got into bed, but five minutes later she heard him come into the room and he climbed on the quilt on top of her. She tried to push him away but he got off the bed, lifted the quilt, saying 'Show me what you've got'.

Prosecuting, Mark Achurch, continued: "He was pinning her arms above her head and started to bite the left side of her neck."

The woman told him to go away and began shouting out which caused Akhtar to move off the bed and walk away, shouting out that he loved her.

Akhtar had initially denied the incident and had been due to stand trial this April. But days before he was due in court he was arrested at Heathrow airport trying to board a plane to Pakistan. He told police that he had been due to go there for a few days to sort out legal affairs for his late father.

Akhtar has been jailed for 11 months

In a victim personal statement to the court, the woman who cannot be identified for legal reasons, described herself as 'an emotional wreck' after the incident.

She had to take time off work and is still emotional three years on if she has to talk about the incident. She has been left suffering from anxiety and is on medication.

Reading her statement, Mr Achurch said: "Before the incident she described herself as being funny, sociable and outgoing. She was happy going out with other people and on her own.

"She's now more nervous about going out and finds it very difficult to trust people."

The court was told that Akhtar had 19 previous convictions for 41 offences including battery, robbery and driving matters, but no previous sexual offending.

In mitigation, the court heard how Akhtar, , of Brookfurlong, Ravensthorpe, Peterborough, had eventually pleaded guilty to his crime at the last minute. He was said to be 'deeply ashamed and apologetic' for what he had done.

The court also heard how he had a spell of homelessness and living in hostels but now had his own flat in Peterborough and that any lengthy prison spell would mean he couldn't return to it. He had also lost his job at the hotel and had significant debt that he was paying off.

He also claimed that he was going to Pakistan 'for a matter of days' to sort out his father's legal matters and that he regretted not informing the court. Since he was arrested he had been in prison, locked up for 23-and-a-half hours every day because of Covid restrictions.

Sentencing Akhtar, Recorder Graham Huston said: "If you'd got on that plane to Pakistan you wouldn't have been in the country at the time the case was listed.

"It was a very frightening attack. She was completely shocked anyone could walk into her hotel room without knocking. People who stay in hotels are entitled to feel safe and secure.

"Her personality and confidence have been affected.

"You have no insight into your behaviour and it's difficult to see any remorse on your part.

"This was a sexual attack on a vulnerable woman effectively trapped in her hotel room."

The court heard that the offence fell into category 2B with a starting point of one year in jail which was reduced to ten months for the guilty plea. Akhtar was also given an extra month in jail for failing to surrender making his total sentence 11 months in prison. He was also placed on the sex offenders' register for ten years.