July 2023

Footballer Salim Kouider-Aïssa jailed for sex assault on sleeping woman

A Scottish League 1 footballer who carried out a sex attack on a sleeping woman has been jailed for two years.

Salim Kouider-Aïssa, 27, assaulted the 23-year-old in Kirkintilloch, East Dunbartonshire, on 31 October 2021.

Glasgow Sheriff Court heard the Airdrieonians forward stripped to his underwear in a bed at a friend’s flat and inappropriately touched the woman.

Kouider-Aïssa, who joined the club in July 2021, was found guilty of one charge of sexual assault.

The club sacked the player after he was convicted in May.

Sheriff Matthew Jackson KC said: “Prior to this conviction you held a position that many can only dream of.

“That position, status and reward is now lost to you and you recognise that.”

The judge said it was not difficult to understand why the jury rejected his defence that the woman was consenting.

He added: “She woke up to find herself being sexually assaulted by a man she barely knew in a horrific fashion.”

Kouider-Aïssa was told there was no alternative to a custodial sentence.

The first offender, of Kirkintilloch, was also put on the sex offenders register for 10 years.

The court heard the woman met Kouider-Aïssaat at a friend’s flat after a night out and went to a spare bedroom at 05:00, with the footballer being told to stay in the living room.

She said: “I woke up and I could feel someone behind me, that’s when I realised what he was doing.”

The woman said Kouider-Aïssa intimately touched her.

She added: “I woke up really shocked, I went into bed myself and was shocked to have someone behind me.

“I was shouting ‘what are you doing’ and he said ‘I thought you were awake, what have I done’.

“It wouldn’t matter if I was, as there was no consent.”

Giving evidence, Kouider-Aïssa claimed he was not able to get comfortable sleeping on the couch and went into the bed “to get a good sleep”, removing his clothes as he was hot during the night.

He admitted rubbing the woman’s leg, kissing her neck and touching her intimately, stating: “I had belief she was consenting by the way she was moving about the bed, moving her body to me.”

After the woman confronted him, Kouider-Aïssa told a friend he made a mistake, saying: “I thought she was awake.”

He was escorted out of the flat and picked up by a team mate for a training session, but handed himself into police later.

Kouider-Aïssa told the court he now believed the woman was asleep because of hearing her evidence through the criminal process.

He admitted he did not speak to her to ask if she was awake.