Newsagent jailed for assaulting 11-year-old girl

A NEWSAGENT assaulted an 11-year old girl in his shop 16 years after being jailed for sexual offences against children he employed to deliver papers.

Mohammed Asghar, 56, told his 11-year-old victim: "I am a therapist and that's what therapists do".

Asghar, a prisoner in Saughton, had pled guilty previously at Edinburgh Sheriff Court to assaulting the girl on June 17 this year in his shop, Moons Newsagents in Mayfield Place, Dalkeith.

Sentence was deferred until today for reports.

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Asghar was jailed for five years at the High Court in Edinburgh in 1994 for offences involving three girls and a boy, aged between 10 and 15 years, in his shop in Leith.

The 11-year old and a nine year old friend had gone into the shop to buy sweets.

The 11-year old asked for a tissue as her hands were dirty with bird droppings. Asghar asked the girls to go into the back shop.

He then locked the front door and closed the window shutters. Going out to his car he locked the girls inside. After a short while he returned and asked the nine-year old to go into the front shop.

The 11-year old was sitting in a chair and Asghar wet a tissue and began rubbing her legs with it and moving his hands under her shorts.

When the girl asked what he was doing, he replied: "I am a therapist and that's what therapists do".

He then lifted up her top, groped and kissed her.

The girl became scared and then her friend shouted that she had to go home as she had a school project to complete. Asghar opened the door and shutters, gave the 11-year old a magazine and told her not to tell her mother.

Defence solicitor, John Scott, told Sheriff Isabella McColl that in some cases there was an element of denial by an accused, but Asghar had co-operated fully in the compilation of the reports. The reports said there was work that could be done with him and suggested his taking part in the Community Sex Offenders Group programme for a period of two years.

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Mr Scott added: "It is worth noting in this situation that the complainer came into his shop, obviously for entirely innocent purposes. It is not the case that the accused came out looking for a child or grooming them".

Sheriff McColl said she had to take regard of Asghar's previous conviction and that in this case there had been an element of trust involved. She highlighted his locking the doors so that the girls could not leave and drawing the blinds so that others could not see what was happening.

She imposed an extended sentence of four years and nine months, with a custodial element of one year and nine months and three years supervision.