A SEX offender asylum seeker who tried to snatch a 14-year-old boy from a town centre street has been jailed for 16 months and could now face deportation.
Iranian-born Asghar Najafi, 43, had already been on the sex offenders register for four years when he attempted to kidnap the teenager near Blackburn Market.
A judge labelled him a ‘high-risk’ to children and his asylum status is now set to be reviewed by the Home Office.
Calls have now been made to insist that Najafi, who claimed he came to England to escape the political situation in his native country, should be expelled from the UK.
Paul Houston, whose daughter Amy was knocked down and killed by illegal immigrant Aso Ibrahim Mohammed, said he was ‘absolutely horrified’ by the case.
And Blackburn MP Jack Straw, a former Home Secretary and Justice Minister, said more needed to be done to make sure that people who commit serious crimes while seeking asylum are expelled.
Preston Crown Court heard that Najafi, who arrived in this country in 2004, was engaged to be married to an Iranian fiancee. His immigration status is still to be determined.
But because he had received a jail sentence of more than 12 months, under immigration legislation the Home Office would assess his case, the court heard.
Mr Houston said: “I have got absolutely no problem with genuine asylum seekers, I never have had. But I just hope that they deport this guy because he is a danger to society.”
Mr Straw said: “I know that senior judges are very concerned about cases like this. The damage it is doing to the British judiciary is substantial.
“We must make sure that in situations like this criminals are held in custody until they are sent home.”
Najafi’s victim was travelling on a bus home from school when he became aware that Najafi was staring at him, the court heard.
Prosecutor Roger Green said that the boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was so uneasy that he left the bus a few stops early in Ainsworth Street.
Najafi caught up with him near the market and placed both hands on the boy’s shoulders and said to him ‘come with me’.
“The defendant held on tightly as (the boy) tried to push away from him and he felt the defendant trying to steer him in a different direction,” said Mr Green.
The boy managed to struggle free and then produced his mobile phone, warning Najafi that he would call the police.
Najafi, of Pine Street, Blackburn, fled and the boy caught another bus home, where he reported the incident to his parents, who then alerted police.
Police examined CCTV from the market area and tracked down Najafi, who was arrested and taken to Greenbank station.
Questioned by officers he initially denied the allegation and claimed he did not speak English. But in court he pleaded guilty to attempted abduction.
The court heard that he had previously been convicted by Blackburn magistrates of indecent exposure in 2007 and placed on the sex offenders register.
Najafi approached a 16-year-old girl in a bus shelter and exposed himself before carrying out a sex act.
Passing sentence, Judge Michael Byrne said he was satisfied that the offence was sexually motivated.
And referring to a pre-sentence report, in which Najafi refused to accept he had problems, the judge said there were continuing concerns that the defendant presented a ‘high risk of serious harm’, particularly in relation to children.
Stephen Leake, defending, said that the offence was more ‘opportunistic’ than pre-meditated and there had been no lasting physical or psychological harm to the schoolboy victim.