March 2019

Schoolgirl groped four times and followed off bus

A barber sexually assaulted a teenage schoolgirl on a Dublin bus, leaving her afraid to use public transport alone.

Abdel Dulkumoni (32) groped the girl’s bottom four times after standing behind her on the bus.

Then he followed her off the bus and had an “inappropriate” conversation with her.

The victim told the court in a statement how she has had panic attacks since the assault, will not travel alone on buses and is “freaked out” when strangers speak to her.

Dulkumoni, of Walkinstown Drive, Walkinstown, had pleaded not guilty at Dublin District Court to sexually assaulting the girl on June 19, 2017.

Judge Brian O’Shea found him guilty but spared him jail, giving him a two-month suspended sentence.

He also registered him as a sex offender for five years.

The prosecuting garda said the girl reported that she had got the bus on Dame Street travelling south-west and the accused got on and stood behind her.

She said he felt her bottom on four occasions during the journey and this had occurred when the bus either stopped or jerked forward.

The accused got off at the same stop as the victim, which was not his own stop in Walkinstown, and had an inappropriate conversation with her in which he referred to her appearance.

He has been in Ireland for around 10 years with his wife and extended family, defence solicitor Donal Quigley said. He had no children.

The accused is currently working as a barber in Tallaght and before that he had worked in Abbey Street.

Dulkumoni had given an explanation for what happened but it was not accepted, Mr Quigley said.

In her victim impact statement, read out to court by the garda, the girl said she has had two panic attacks since the incident.

One was on the Luas not long after the incident, and the second was in her bedroom close to Christmas because she was thinking about what had happened on the bus.

“I am afraid to get on public transport by myself after the incident, I always bring a friend or family member with me,” she said in her statement.

“If they can’t come with me, I have to be dropped and collected wherever I go.

“I’m always looking around me when I’m in public now, I’m more cautious.

“I get a bit freaked out if a stranger talks to me or if someone bumps off me.

“I have definitely stopped hanging around with my male friends as much, I would rather be with the girls.

“I think it has had a big effect on my social life and it has knocked my confidence. I stay at home a lot more than I would have, and I also don’t have much trust in strangers.

“It has also affected my studies because I’m in my Leaving Cert year and have a court case to deal with. It has been very stressful.”

Judge O’Shea said the offence, taken in isolation, was at the lower end of the range, though that was “not at all to take from” the aggravating factor that was the victim’s age.

The judge said, while he appreciated that Dulkumoni wished to appeal his decision, the accused had shown no remorse and had made no apology.

He noted that the victim had been struggling with her studies “understandably” as a result of the trauma and anxiety of the case.

She had been forced to give evidence by video link, became visibly “upset at the thought of what had happened and had to relive the experience in order to give her testimony”.

The judge said, because of her youth, the victim was more likely to be resilient and make a full recovery.

The court heard the victim had only been asked two questions in cross-examination, which was “not robust”.