Peterborough hotel porter who sexually assaulted woman has sentence tripled

A Peterborough hotel porter who sexually assaulted a woman has had his sentence tripled.

Wednesday, 25th August 2021, 5:00 am

Zeshan Akhtar walked into the room at the four star Talbot Hotel in Oundle where he had been working and pinned the woman’s arms above her head so he could carry out his assault.

Northampton Crown Court heard in June that the woman had noticed Akhtar, 39, staring at her uncomfortably in the hotel bar that evening in early 2018, and that he had been sent home earlier on as a manager saw him in the bar and believed he was drunk. He had only been working there for a week.

The woman told him to go away and began shouting out which caused Akhtar to move off the bed and walk away, shouting out that he loved her.

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Zeshan Akhtar

Akhtar, of Brookfurlong, Ravensthorpe, was arrested at Heathrow Airport on 3 April 2021 attempting to board a flight to Pakistan.

He told police that he had been due to go there for a few days to sort out legal affairs for his late father.

On 24 June 2021, Akhtar was convicted of sexual assault and failing to surrender and sentenced to 11 months’ imprisonment at Northampton Crown Court.

Following the Court’s decision, the Solicitor General referred Akhtar’s case to the Court of Appeal under the Unduly Lenient Sentence (ULS) scheme. On 18 August 2021, the Court found his sentence to be unduly lenient and increased it to 3 years and 1 month’s imprisonment.

After the hearing at the Court of Appeal the Solicitor General, Rt Hon Lucy Frazer QC MP, said: “Akhtar abused his position as a night porter in a hotel to break into the victim’s room and sexually assault her. He then sought to escape justice by attempting to flee the country. I am glad the Court of Appeal saw fit to increase his sentence and I hope today’s decision offers some comfort to his victim.”

In a victim personal statement to the court in June, the woman who cannot be identified for legal reasons, described herself as ‘an emotional wreck’ after the incident.

She had to take time off work and is still emotional three years on if she has to talk about the incident. She has been left suffering from anxiety and is on medication.

Reading her statement, Mr Achurch said: “Before the incident she described herself as being funny, sociable and outgoing. She was happy going out with other people and on her own.

“She’s now more nervous about going out and finds it very difficult to trust people.”

The court was told that Akhtar had 19 previous convictions for 41 offences including battery, robbery and driving matters, but no previous sexual offending.

Sentencing Akhtar to 11 months in jail in June, Recorder Graham Huston said: “If you’d got on that plane to Pakistan you wouldn’t have been in the country at the time the case was listed.

“It was a very frightening attack. She was completely shocked anyone could walk into her hotel room without knocking. People who stay in hotels are entitled to feel safe and secure.

“Her personality and confidence have been affected.

“You have no insight into your behaviour and it’s difficult to see any remorse on your part.

“This was a sexual attack on a vulnerable woman effectively trapped in her hotel room.”