An Indian tourist who sexually assaulted a woman while she was asleep on a flight from Mumbai to Manchester was sentenced to one year in prison on May 9.
Hardeep Singh, 35 a native of Hoshiarpur in India’s north was traveling to the United Kingdom on a six-month tourist VISA, reported the Daily Mail.
The incident happened in February this year when he got on a Manchester-bound flight and sat next to a woman in her twenties.
Singh tried to be friendly with the woman and tried to engage her in a conversation but the woman felt uncomfortable.
As the lights went off and everyone including the cabin crew and the victim fell asleep, Singh tried to sexually assault the woman who woke up horrified.
The assault lasted for about 15 minutes after which the woman was able to escape and report the matter to the cabin crew who was to isolate the man from all women for the rest of the flight.
Singh was arrested on suspicion of sexual assault as he left the flight at Manchester airport.
“From the outset of the flight, Singh’s behavior was despicable,” Detective Constable Catherine Evans of GMP’s Airport Team told Daily Mail.
Evans said that Singh took advantage of the woman being unaccompanied. “He began to invade her personal space, pestering her and making unwanted physical contact, despite the passenger making it clear she did not want to engage him in conversation,” she said.
‘Despicable’ Indian tourist, 35, who sexually assaulted a woman in her 20s as passengers around them slept on a flight from Mumbai to Manchester is jailed for only a year
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She said Singh waited for the right time. “Waiting until the woman and surrounding passengers were asleep, Singh subjected the woman to a prolonged sexual assault, forcibly restraining her when she tried to move away,” she said.
“Numbed with fear, it was only after she summoned the strength to overpower him that she was able to run away and raise the alarm,” Evans said.
Singh was jailed for a year on Thursday at the Minshull Street Crown Court and will be deported to India once released.
“We’re pleased with today’s sentence and hope the woman can move forward knowing that he’s behind bars. We hope the courage of this woman and this positive court result encourages other victims to come forward and report incidents of sexual assault to police,” Evans said.
Rising Sexual Assault on Airplanes in the United States
Reports of sexual assaults on commercial flights are on a rise, according to the FBI. “Be Aware, sexual assault on an aircraft is a Federal Crime,” FBI said in a post on its website.
“Sexual assault aboard aircraft—which usually takes the form of unwanted touching—is a felony that can land offenders in prison. Typically, men are the perpetrators, and women and unaccompanied minors are the victims,” the FBI said.
This holiday travel season, the #FBI wants to remind everyone that sexual assault on an aircraft is a federal crime. If you have been the victim of a sexual assault aboard an aircraft, report it to the flight crew & the FBI at http://tips.fbi.goov or 1-800-CALL-FBI (225-5324). pic.twitter.com/3yRIdheFnM
— FBI (@FBI) November 24, 2018
In 2014, 38 cases of sexual assault were reported to the FBI and this increased to 63 by 2017.
“Crimes aboard aircraft fall within the FBI’s jurisdiction, and in the case of in-flight sexual assaults, agents describe elements of these crimes as being strikingly similar,” it said.
The attacks mostly happen on long-haul flights when the lights get switched off in the cabin.
“The victims are usually in middle or window seats, sleeping, and covered with a blanket or jacket. They report waking up to their seatmate’s hands inside their clothing or underwear,” the FBI said.