UK

Ex-cancer scientist who sexually assaulted women on train told police he was ‘flirting’, court hears

A former cancer scientist who sexually assaulted two women on a train told police officers that he was ‘just flirting, not masturbating’, a court has heard. 

Dr Prabhat Sakya, 50, of Swindon, Wiltshire, ‘trapped’ his victims by sitting next to them on the train before touching their legs, hips, stomach and breast, magistrates were told.

One of the victims said she saw a ‘bulge in his crotch area of his trousers’, which she believed to be an erection, and Sakya was ‘touching his trousers’ as he ‘stroked’ her, Swindon Magistrates’ Court was told.

After he was arrested, Sakya, who used to work as a Programme Manager at Imperial College London, told police officers that he ‘wasn’t masturbating’ but was ‘just flirting’ with the women.

Sakya claimed he was not guilty of two counts of sexual assault but was convicted at a trail and was sentenced to 52 weeks’ imprisonment suspended for 24 months. 

Dr Prabhat Sakya, 50, of Swindon, Wiltshire, sexually assaulted two women on a train before telling police officers that he was ‘just flirting, not masturbating’, a court has heard

Boarding the Great Western Railway service at London Paddington to Swindon, Sakya approached his first victim, asking her to move her bag so he could sit next to her.

Crown prosecutor Keith Ballinger told the court that the woman had ‘found it odd’ because he had been sitting next to another woman elsewhere on the coach a short time before.

Mr Ballinger continued: ‘He placed his right arm on the armrest and took out a magazine. His arm was hanging over onto her side, touching her left arm. 

‘She believes he was making a conscious effort to touch her. She felt intimidated and trapped in her seat.’

The victim checked to see if the defendant was asleep, but found that his eyes were open and his face was looking towards her. 

Sakya, who is currently unemployed, began using his finger to rub her thigh firmly and the woman believed she saw he had an ‘erection’, the court was told.

Sakya 'trapped' his victims by sitting next to them on the train before 'stroking' their legs, hips, stomach and breast, Swindon Magistrates' Court (pictured) was told

Sakya ‘trapped’ his victims by sitting next to them on the train before ‘stroking’ their legs, hips, stomach and breast, Swindon Magistrates’ Court (pictured) was told

Mr Ballinger added: ‘She saw a bulge in his crotch area of his trousers which she believed to be an erection. He was using his other hand to touch his trousers.

‘She says she was very scared, uncomfortable and trapped.’ 

He stroked her leg again as the train arrived into Reading, before standing up to allow her to disembark, where she told British Transport Police about the incident.

Just moments later, Sakya targeted a woman in a different coach, sitting down next to her even though most of the surrounding seats were vacant after many travellers alighted the service at Reading.

‘She found it odd as there was plenty of space [on the coach]. She was tired so she didn’t think much of it, and carried on looking out the window’, the prosecutor said.

He continued: ‘He rested his arm on the armrest and press his arm towards hers. She was watching a video of a puppy on Instagram and he made a comment about it being nice.

‘He was looking over her shoulder at her phone so she put the phone away as she felt uncomfortable.’

Sakya pressed his victim’s arm and elbow with his arm, actively applying force or pressure to her body before using his forearm to rub against her stomach and hip.

The victim froze in fear and was terrified, the court heard.

She saw staff moving through the aisle and hoped that they would see that she was scared and help her, but they walked on by.

One of the victims said she saw a 'bulge' in the crotch of his trousers, and Sakya was 'touching his trousers' during the incident on the Great Western Railway train (stock image)

One of the victims said she saw a ‘bulge’ in the crotch of his trousers, and Sakya was ‘touching his trousers’ during the incident on the Great Western Railway train (stock image)

The defendant then began touching her knee and thigh before using his index finger to draw patterns on her leg.

Mr Ballinger said: ‘She closed her eyes and pretended to be asleep, but that didn’t stop him.

‘She opened her eyes a short time later and saw him staring at her.’

As the train arrived into Swindon station, Sakya disguised the final part of his sexual attack as getting up to leave the train, when he ran his hand from her knee up to her chest, making contact with her breast.

Unbeknown to Sakya, Wiltshire Police officers had been deployed to Swindon railway station in a bid to locate him after his first victim reported the assault to police in Reading.

As he was arrested, he told officers: ‘I wasn’t masturbating, I was just flirting with her.’

In a victim impact statement, his 20-year-old victim said no longer feels safe using trains after the ‘petrifying’ incident, which she said still gives her nightmares.

She wrote: ‘I felt safe using trains until this incident. I was trapped, frozen and unable to move. It petrified me.

‘It has been over a year since the assault, and I still have nightmares. I wake up feeling as violated as I did on that day.

‘I have lost my independence, I feel unsafe travelling anywhere myself.’

His second victim, a pharmacist, said the sexual assault has affected her ability to work with male patients in her role.

The former cancer scientist, who used to work as a Programme Manager at Imperial College London (pictured), was sentenced to 52 weeks' imprisonment suspended for 24 months

The former cancer scientist, who used to work as a Programme Manager at Imperial College London (pictured), was sentenced to 52 weeks’ imprisonment suspended for 24 months

‘I find it difficult to trust make patients’, she said.

‘I have been taking anti-depressants since the incident, I still sometimes struggle with what happened.’

Mark Glendenning, defending, said his client ‘offers his apologies to both ladies’.

He added that Sakya was suffering from poor mental health at the time, and is having ongoing treatment.

‘Whilst he poses a risk, probation feel those risks can be managed in the community’, he commented.

At Swindon Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, he was sentenced to 52 weeks’ imprisonment suspended for 24 months and must register a sex offender for ten years.

He must also complete up to 60 rehabilitation activity requirement days, pay £620 costs and a victim surcharge of £149.

Dr Sakya is currently unemployed and claiming benefits, but from 2018 until 2020, he worked as a Programme Manager at the Imperial College London.

He previously worked in the Cell Biophysics laboratory at Cancer Research UK and as a surfactant and colloid scientist at Unilever.


Source link

Related Articles

Back to top button