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Crawley man sentenced to 14 months in prison for Gatwick parking deception

The director of a Gatwick ‘meet and greet’ parking company has been sentenced to 14 months in prison and disqualified from being a director for four years following an investigation by West Sussex Trading Standards.

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Asad Bashir Malik (Jura Close, Crawley, West Sussex) and his company London Parking Gatwick Ltd, which was turning over £.1.4 million, were found guilty at Brighton Crown Court of misleading customers.

Proceeds of Crime Act proceedings are still pending.

The company said on its website that all cars left with them would be parked in a secure compound.

But in 2016 reports to West Sussex Trading Standards claimed that over 1,000 vehicles were being parked in a field in Bonnetts Lane, West Sussex.

Trading Standards officers visited two fields, Bonnetts Lane and Keepers Knight, in July 2016 and confirmed that London Parking Gatwick Ltd was using these to park its customer’s vehicles.

Some of the vehicles had been left unlocked with their windows open and keys on the windscreen. Some of the vehicles were damaged and others had been issued with parking tickets. The investigation also revealed fake customer reviews on the company’s website.

Officers contacted the customers and established that they had been misled by claims on the website.

Richard Sargeant, Trading Standards Team Manager, said:

“Malik and his company deceived thousands of customers between 2014 and 2016, causing damage to their cars and making false claims on its website.

“This was a complex investigation for our team and I am very pleased with the outcome.

“I would urge anyone using a Gatwick meet and greet business to only use a Trading Standards-approved company.”

Anyone who thinks they have been a victim of an unfair trading practice can contact Trading Standards via Citizens Advice on 03454 04 05 06 or online via www.westsussex.gov.uk/tsreport


Crime

Man who strangled and beat 17-year-old Crawley girl convicted

An engineer from Partridge Green has been convicted of violent and sexual attacks on two women after a Sussex Police investigation.

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Neil Scott-O’Connor, 23, a household appliance engineer, was convicted at Hove Crown Court on Thursday (28 November) after a 14-day trial, of;

– six offences against a 29-year old woman at an address in Brighton on dates between September 2018 and January 2019; one offence of threats to kill, one of attempted strangulation with intent to commit a sexual offence, two offences of causing actual bodily harm, and one of harassment with intent to cause fear;
– three offences against a 17-year-old girl at his address in Partridge Green in December 2018; one offence of attempted strangulation with intent to commit a sexual offence and two of causing actual bodily harm.

He was found not guilty of one offence of causing actual bodily harm to the 29-year old woman.

He had pleaded not guilty to all charges.

The prosecution, authorised by the Crown Prosecution Service, followed an investigation by detectives from both the West Sussex Investigations team and the Brighton Safeguarding Investigation Unit (SIU).

Scott-O’Connor had his own business an emergency appliance repair man, driving around Sussex fixing appliances in houses or in businesses.
Police first became aware of Scott-O’Connor’s offending when the 17-year-old woman from Crawley came forward. She had extensive bruising on her body and reported that she had been strangled almost to the point of unconsciousness by someone she had met on Facebook, during their first date. This man was Scott-O’Connor. He was arrested in December 2018 and was released on bail whilst an investigation began.

The scope of his sexualised offending soon became apparent when the 29-year-old woman from Brighton then came forward reporting similar attacks and non-consensual strangulation during their short relationship.

She too had photographs of extensive bruising and injuries inflicted by him. When the relationship ended Scott-O’Connor made multiple threats to the victim which included him threatening to burn her house down, to cut the brake lines on her car, and shoot her and her two-year-old son. Fearing he was capable of carrying out these threats she immediately reported him to police. He was further arrested and interviewed during which he continued to deny any wrong doing.

Officers conducted a thorough examination of his mobile phone and revealed a wealth of information including an Amazon shopping list of weapons and restraints, hundreds of screenshots of female Facebook profiles and the purchase of tracking devices. His Internet search history raised concern further, as did his choice of horror movies depicting rape and torture.

Detective Sergeant Andy Ricks said;

“I am extremely pleased with this result. My team,including Investigator Gary Campbell, and Detective Constable Tracey Dixon from the Brighton SIU, worked tirelessly to build a solid evidential case over the past year. Neil Scott-O’Connor posed a significant risk, luring his victims into relationships through charm and flattery, in one case via social media, then turning to violence and fear to act out his dark sexual fantasies.

“His obsession with strangulation was a common feature in the investigation and it’s only by good fortune that one of his victims was not killed. As Counsel for the prosecution, Richard Hearndon said of Scott-O’Connor; “…during strangulation he literally had their life in his hands”.

“We would also like to thank the victims for having the courage to come forward and support us in putting this dangerous offender behind bars.”

Scott-O’Connor was remanded in custody for pre-sentence reports, prior to sentencing on 17 January 2020.

For information about support and advice available to victims see the Sussex Police website.

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