Court hears angry crowd surrounded Ballymena house after man waved his wallet and asked passing 15-year-old girls for 'sex'

Court hears angry crowd surrounded Ballymena house after man waved his wallet and asked passing 15-year-old girls for 'sex'

A LARGE crowd gathered round the home of a 54-year-old man in Ballymena after he made "sexual gestures" whilst waving his wallet at two passing 15-year-old girls asking them to go into his house for "sex".

Asen Demirev, a factory worker, formerly from the Clonavon area of Ballymena but now with an address listed as Currans Brae in Moy in County Tyrone, was sentenced after recently being convicted of a charge that he 'intentionally incited a child between 13 and 16 years, to engage in a sexual activity'.

The defendant had the assistance of a Bulgarian language interpreter at Ballymena Magistrates' Court on Thursday.

A prosecutor said on August 25 last year police attended the Clonavon area where a "large crowd gathered around a property".

He added that two "young females" said at 7.30-7.45 they had been walking "in the direction of McDonald's" when they were approached by a male, who stopped in front of them, "blocking their path and holding his wallet and bank card towards them".

The prosecutor added: "He started to make sexual gestures towards them, putting his tongue between his two forefingers; holding the fingers of one hand in a circle and putting the index finger of his other hand into the hole and gesturing towards his house to them. He then said: 'You two in' and pointed towards the house".

The court heard a witness saw Demeriv approach the two girls whilst saying "Sex, sex".

When arrested, Court News NI can report, the defendant had originally denied the offence.

The court was told the defendant was a single man with three adult children from previous relationships and had no criminal record in Northern Ireland apart from two motoring convictions.

At a court bail hearing last year a police officer had said the Clonavon area was "a mixed community of foreign nationals and local people” and following the report to police there was “almost public disorder".

Speaking at court last summer the PSNI officer said there were “high community tensions at the minute and police have actually got a dedicated crew to the area to try and alleviate any further incidents and they have been in contact with the Inter-Ethnic Forum to try and resolve matters".

A defence lawyer said it had not been suggested Demirev had any record in Buglaria.

The barrister said the defendant had been in Northern Ireland since 2017 but moved from Ballymena due to "a high level of hostility directed against him".

The lawyer said Demirev "made sexual gestures to these two young girls who were walking past his house at the time, it was a chance encounter outside of his house, there was no physical contact."

He said the defendant accepted he believed the girls to be under 16.

The lawyer said he was not trying to "downgrade the fear the injured parties may have put under as a result of the defendant's reprehensible actions" but Probation consider Demirev to be a "low category for supervision and intervention".

Although it had been an "alarming, unsavoury, deeply unpleasant" incident, the defence lawyer said there was an "absence of aggravating features".

District Judge Nigel Broderick read Victim Impact Statements and said: "His behaviour against these two young females was totally unjustified and it has had a significant effect on them. I hope in due course they will both have made a full recovery from the emotional trauma that they suffered".

The judge said it had been a conviction after contest but the defendant effectively had a "clear record" and was working. "On balance" he suspended a five months prison term for three years.

He also placed Demirev on the Sex Offenders' Register for seven years.

He said he did not believe a Sexual Offences Prevention Order would be "proportionate" but put in place a three year Restraining Order and ordered the defendant to pay compensation of £500.