Primark guard preyed on shoplifting teenage girls

Image source, Met Police
Image caption,
Zia Uddin kept condoms in the control room where he sexually assaulted the girls

A Primark security guard has been found guilty of sexually assaulting teenage girls he accused of shoplifting.

Zia Uddin, 27, from east London, attacked four 15-year-old girls while working at the Kingston store in 2017.

Uddin threatened the teenagers with calling the police and their parents if they did not perform sexual acts on him in the control room of the store.

He was convicted of one count of rape and four counts of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.

Kingston Crown Court heard Uddin's colleagues had noticed his strange behaviour, which included making requests to delete CCTV, and not properly completing paperwork on shoplifting.

He was also known to keep condoms in the control room, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said.

Once detained, some victims offered to pay for the items they had stolen, suggested they could work in the store to make amends, or even never enter the shop again.

Image source, Google
Image caption,
Zia Uddin knew where the "blind spots" were on the Kingston branch's CCTV

However, once alone in the back office, Uddin, from Manor Park in Newham, made clear he was only interested in sexual acts in exchange for letting them go.

Prosecutors said one girl only did as he asked because "there was no other choice" and it was the only way out of the situation.

Graham Partridge, from the CPS, said Uddin "preyed on young girls in a vulnerable situation".

"He abused his authority by telling them to perform sexual acts for him on the promise they would then be released without their parents or the police being informed about what they had done.

"Having worked in security, Uddin was also well aware of the CCTV camera 'blind spots' and took advantage of these in order to carry out his offending."

'Horrendous ordeal'

He added that Uddin claimed all the victims were liars and refused to take responsibility for his actions.

Uddin will be sentenced next Tuesday.

A spokeswoman for Primark said: "This has been a horrendous ordeal for the victims and their families and we are truly sorry for what they have suffered. Our thoughts are very much with them.

"The nature of these offences is shocking and distressing.

"Zia Uddin abused the trust that was placed in him by his employer, Brooknight Security, and by us, by taking advantage of his victims, who were young and vulnerable."

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