|Sexual offender used ‘Gumtree’ to lure victims.|
|On 18th February 2011, at Wood Green Crown Court, a male who used the recruiting Website ‘Gumtree’ to lure victims to meetings at Brent Cross shopping centre was sentenced to a community order of 3 years on the Sex Offenders Programme. He was also placed on the sexual offenders register for 5 years.
The court heard how Mr Marios KLEOPAS aged 37 from North Finchley would contact women who had put their details on the recruiting website. He would tell them his name was ‘MARIOS’ and that he was looking for bar staff for a new bar he was opening at Brent Cross called ‘WHAT BAR’ This bar was fictitious and purely a means of luring the women to a meeting.
He would then pretend to carry out and interview and in the course of the interview would ask the victim if they would like a cigarette to lure them to his car. Once the victim got in the car Kleopas would carry out an assault by sexually touching the women.
A police investigation began when one of the women reported Kleopas and soon after other women were identified as victims by the police enquiry. Investigating officers examined CCTV evidence from the shopping centre and were able to identify the car Kleopas was using. It was through this that police were able to trace him.
Kleopas was arrested and admitted meeting the women but denied he had touched them.
Kleopas was charged with two offences of Sexual assault on women over 16. Throughout the case he denied the offences but was subsequently found guilty by the jury.
|DC Simon North of Barnet CID said.
“This man actively targeted vulnerable women who he believed would not report his assault to police. Soon after we began the investigation from the first complaint we discovered other victims and I am glad that we have stopped this man’s criminality. We are concerned that there may be other victims and I would urge anyone who has been the victim of this man, or any other sexual criminal to contact police. This conviction shows our resolve to support victims and bring sexual offenders to justice.”