x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Dubai cleaner's groping defence: 'I was only trying to hold her'

The 30-year-old faces charges of sexual assault but denies it.

DUBAI //A cleaner charged with groping his female colleague has told the court he was 'only trying to hold her'.

MN, 30, from Sri Lanka appeared in Dubai Criminal Court this morning on charges of sexually assaulting Indonesian NK on November 22 last year.

The 21-year-old victim told prosecutors that, on the afternoon of the day of the incident, she was napping in her staff accommodation when the defendant knocked on her door and said he had come to fix a broken drawer.

"I told him I wanted to sleep and the broken drawer was for my roommate who was not present at that time so he should return later," the woman told prosecutors.

But he refused to leave, she said, and told her she could sleep while he waited for her roommate.

He then sat on the bed and, when she tried to jump over it to get to the other side of the room, he grabbed her and pushed her onto the mattress facedown.

"He lay on top of me and started touching me," she said, adding she resisted him fiercely.

The woman screamed to draw attention of other colleagues and managed to escape the defendant's grip and run outside. "He jumped out of my room window," said the victim, whose colleagues then called police.

"I only held her," said the defendant in court today.

A verdict is expected on February 27.

salamir@thenational.ae