A male masseur who sexually assaulted two women at a salon in London has fled the UK.
Muhammed Ramande, 39, was sentenced in his absence for two counts of sexual assault by penetration while giving Swedish massages to women at Verity Hair and Beauty in Hampstead premises in July 2016.
He is thought to have escaped to Iran with his daughter after his victims – aged 28 and 31 – came forward.
Blackfriars Crown Court heard the accounts of one of the women. She said: "It was not a good massage. His crotch would brush against me and I remember thinking it was creepy.
"He then started working my legs. He went all the way up and down. Then he took off my pants and I did not say anything, but I felt really uncomfortable.
"At one point I just completely froze, and my body was in such shock. It was like my body was playing dead.
"It was weird, there was thirty to forty minutes of silence and then he put two of his fingers inside me and moved them around.
"It felt as though it lasted an age, but I suppose it was only about thirty seconds. I remember my heart pumping so much that I could hear it. I managed to say, 'No thank you'.
"I was shocked by how polite I was. He just took them out and carried on as if nothing had happened.
"I turned onto my front and he started to rub my breasts and tried to do the same thing again. Again, I said, 'No thank you'.
"When it was over I pictured myself grabbing all my things and running out into the street naked, but I didn't. I just got dressed, opened the door and B-lined straight for the exit.
"I remember him looking at me, I think he thought I still wanted a haircut. When I was outside I took two left turns and sat on someone's garden wall and just cried," she added, as reported by Court News.
The other victim was also assaulted by Ramande with his fingers. When she told him to stop he pleaded with her not to tell the police, and offered her a £20 ($28) refund along with his word that he would not sexually assault anyone again in the future.
The woman went to the police, prompting officers to contact other women who had used his services to see if they had been assaulted. The jury failed to reach a verdict on a third women's claims.
"Ramande is an opportunistic predator who used his business of massage therapy as a smoke screen to sexually assault women," said The Met's DC Jason Anderson.
"He counted on their isolation and vulnerability during massage sessions to take advantage of the trust given to him.
"All the victims have shown great bravery and tenacity in coming forward to report Ramande and it was their support of prosecution that led to the case being heard."
A judge handed Ramande a nine year jail term in his absence, ordered that he be placed permanently on the Sex Offenders Register, and banned him from working as a masseur.