A Somalian asylum seeker who sexually assaulted a nurse in Northern Ireland, and then sexually assaulted the policewoman who arrested him, did so as a “cry for help” because he was suffering from mental health issues, the man’s lawyer has claimed.
Abdullahi Hidig Salaad, a 22-year-old Somalian national living in the country for the past six months, was arrested at the Causeway Hospital in Coleraine on Nov. 29 after being accused of approaching a pregnant nurse from behind and groping her.
Ballymena Magistrates’ Court heard how the defendant subsequently assaulted a female police officer in an interview room at Antrim police station. An officer recounted how Salaad had grabbed the policewoman’s waist and forcefully pulled her toward him before groping her bottom.
“He then reached across her body and grabbed her right breast. She had to move her upper body down and away from the defendant as she thought he was going to try to kiss her,” the officer continued.
Another officer and the defendant’s solicitor witnessed the second assault.
When he eventually kept his hands to himself, the defendant admitted to police that he had committed the assault at the hospital, but claimed to be “mentally unwell.” He also claimed he could not remember the subsequent assault on the policewoman.
During his bail application, the defendant’s solicitor reiterated the claim that his client was suffering from “mental health issues” and told the court that the offenses had been a “cry for help.”
The presiding magistrate refused bail and ordered the defendant to remain in custody ahead of a further hearing on Dec. 19.