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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 25 June 2018

Taxi driver admits harassing socialite Jemima Khan

Hassan Mahhmood sent 203 text messages, made 1,182 phone calls and sent “loads” of WhatsApp messages, the court heard

Jemima Khan was bombarded with calls after she used an app to book a minicab (Ferdaus Shamim/WireImage)
Jemima Khan was bombarded with calls after she used an app to book a minicab (Ferdaus Shamim/WireImage)

A black cab driver has admitted bombarding socialite Jemima Khan with more than 1,000 phone calls and messages after she posed for a “selfie” with him.

Hassan Mahhmood, 27, obtained the 43-year-old journalist’s phone number after she ordered a taxi through booking app Hailo, Isleworth Crown Court heard.

His barrister, Umar Ali, said Mr Mahhmood was a “big fan” of Ms Khan’s because of her nine-year marriage to Pakistani cricket legend Imran Khan, with whom she has two sons.

Ms Khan, who is the daughter of late billionaire financier Sir James Goldsmith and the sister of MP Zac Goldsmith, consented to a photograph with Mr Mahhmood after he picked her up from a jazz bar on June 16, 2016, the court heard.

The cabbie subsequently became obsessed with Ms Khan, who is also known by her maiden name Goldsmith following her divorce from Mr Khan in 2004.

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He called her mobile phone 1,182 times, sent her 203 text messages and sent her "loads" of WhatsApp messages.

According to prosecutor Ruxana Ali, the defendant told Ms Khan that he “loved her”, “wanted to know her” and asked her “why he could not be friends with her”.

Ms Ali said Mahhmood used 18 different mobile phones to contact Ms Khan.

“He was totally obsessed with her and wanted to meet her to the extent the last two text messages in July 2017 consist of him wanting to come and visit her,” she said.

“The fear of that prompted her to go to police after several months of enduring the stress he put her through. It was her sheer kindness of not reporting him in the first instance.”

Mr Mahhmood, from Waltham Forest, north-east London, pleaded guilty to a charge of harassment without violence between June 16 last year and July 18 this year.

However, he denied a more serious charge of stalking Ms Khan, which was allowed to lie on file.

The prosecutor said: “Have spoken to the complainant. She is satisfied with that result and clearly it will save her a lot of anxiety and stress to her if this course is taken and she is fully behind this decision.”

In a victim impact statement, Ms Khan said: “The incident has made me incredibly anxious at times. I would be home alone and he would call me several times and text repeatedly late at night.

“Sometimes he would send texts saying he would come to my house. That really frightened me.”

In a further statement, she added: “I feel extremely vulnerable and scared as a single woman. As a result I’m planning to move house. He seems to have become increasingly unstable and unpredictable. I’m worried about what he will do.”

Mr Mahhmood is now getting divorced and his minicab licence has been revoked.

Judge Martin Edmunds QC adjourned sentencing to October 26 and told Mr Mahhmood that he could face jail.

However, his barrister said none of the messages were of a threatening nature.