October 2021

‘Young girls are entitled to be safe’ – judge tells perverted Maryport restaurant owner and chef

A Maryport restaurant owner and his chef have been sentenced for subjecting schoolgirl employees and a young woman to unwanted sexual touching.

The four victims worked at the town’s Crown Spice Inn between December 2017 and February the following year, Carlisle Crown Court heard.

The perverted behaviour of the restaurant’s owner Mohammed Alam, 46, and his chef Mohammed Amin, 41, came to light when one of the girls reported it to a teacher.

Both men will now be on the Sex Offenders’ Register for a decade.

Tim Evans, prosecuting, said that after being told by one of the schoolgirls about the lewd behaviour, her school alerted police.

One girl described how Alam had ordered her to change out of her school-shirt during a shift – but he then followed her into a toilet as she put on a vest he gave to her.

He touched her inappropriately as she checked herself in a mirror. “She was shocked and asked him what he was doing,” said Mr Evans.

Alam claimed he was trying to “tuck her in”. She was terrified, said Mr Evans.

Though the girl walked out and her mum was angry about what happened, she did not contact the police because her daughter was no longer at risk.

A second girl was inappropriately touched by Alam as she was taking down Christmas decorations and he told her: “Oh, you’re a good lass.” The teenager was clearly distressed, the court heard.

In a phone call shortly after, the girl’s mum told her to collect her things and leave. The youngest victim told police that Amin always greeted her at the restaurant with a “kiss and a cuddle.”

Amin’s second victim was a woman aged 18. Telling her he was lonely, he hugged her – and tried to kiss her on the lips.

“When she started work, Amin would always try to get her on her own with him,” said Mr Evans.

On one occasion, claiming there was a stain on her top, he pulled out her neckline to expose her cleavage. When the woman’s mother asked why she quit the job, the teenager replied: “Because they’re perverts.”

On Amin’s mobile phone, police found there had been searches for “teenage pornography.”

One victim said her innocence had been stolen, while the oldest victim said what happened undermined her ability to have relationships.

Alam, of Main Street, Ellenborough, admitted two counts of engaging in sexual activity with a child. Amin, now of St John Street, Netherton, Dudley, also admitted sexually activity with a girl aged under 16 and sexually assaulting a second female.

Judge Nicholas Barker told the defendants: “You are both men in their 40s, with no previous convictions.

“You are both married with children.”

Quoting the young woman who swore as she told her mother they were both perverts, the judge said: “It’s an unpleasant turn of phrase but it is not inaccurate.”

Judge Barker said the girls had not gone to work to be “ogled at” or “taken advantage of”.

He told the defendants: “You abused your positions of trust. Young girls are entitled to be safe and to be protected.

“Society has spent too long turning a blind eye to the interference of men towards women generally and in particular towards young girls; young women.

“There is in my judgement no alternative other than to pass custodial sentences.”

But noting that offences were “low level,” the judge suspended the nine months jail term imposed on each defendant for two years.

Amin and Alam must each do 180 hours of unpaid work and up to 30 days of rehabilitation.

In addition to being on the Sex Offender Register, they will each be under a sexual harm prevention order for a decade also.