Driver found guilty of sex assaults on students

A man who preyed on two drunken students from his car has been found guilty on two counts of sexual assault.

Lotfi Belhadj, 49, of Ernald Place, Uplands, assaulted the male and female victims within 24 hours of each other after luring them into his vehicle.

The female victim, who previously spoke to The Waterfront about her experience, thought that Belhadj was a taxi driver when she got into his car. However, she began to feel uncomfortable and tried to leave the car. As she was getting out, Belhadj began to rub her back.

Although Belhadj initially denied all knowledge of the incident, he relented after police told him they had found the woman’s purse in his car.

At this point, he said: “I said to her ‘I am not a taxi’. She was talking to someone on the phone.

“When she got out of the car she had difficulty to get out, so I pushed her out,” he added.

Belhadj’s second victim was sitting in Brynymor Road on October 10 after a night out. After being approached and offered a lift home, he got into the car. Belhadj then used his right hand to touch the victim – twice on the thigh, and once by moving his hand over his genitals.

The victim said: “I felt embarrassed, violated. It was not a pleasant experience.”

Belhadj was found not guilty of two further counts of assault and one of sexual assault, both on the same victim.

He was remanded in custody until sentencing, which will take place next month.
Judge Huw Davies told Belhadj: “The offences the jury convicted your of are so serious, you must expect an immediate custodial sentence.”

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