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Wednesday, 28 September 2022 – A pervert who sexually assaulted a 10-year-old girl as she went shopping with friends at Boots in Victoria Station, UK, is now facing jail.

31-year-old Ben Hooper from West Kingsdown, Kent, was caught on CCTV groping the victim at Victoria Place Shopping Centre on Saturday, June 11, at around 2.50pm. He was arrested three days later after an appeal for information by the British Transport Police.

Westminster Magistrates Court heard that after his arrest, Hooper answered no comment to all questions.

Prosecuting, Frances McCormack described the events leading up to the incident to the court, explaining that the victim ate at McDonald’s with her friends before they went down the escalator to Boots to look at skin care products.

She said: ‘The victim first noticed the defendant in the store. The victim described the defendant squeezing [the right side] of her bottom.

‘She reported it to a member of staff at Boots. The police reviewed CCTV footage. The incident was clearly captured on CCTV.’

Ms. McCormack added: ‘This was a 10-year-old. She was a young female attending a public space with her friends.’

Hooper admitted sexual assault by touching and was bailed ahead of sentence on 18 October.

He was granted bail on the condition that he does not associate with any child under 16, or use the underground except for medical or legal purposes.

District Judge Annabel Pilling told Hooper: ‘This would have been extremely traumatic for a very young victim.’

‘It would have had an impact on her but also on other children who were present.

‘Children this age should be allowed to go to a shop with a friend without the risk of being sexually assaulted.

‘It is not just the child who is impacted. There is a ripple effect. Her parents may feel they didn’t keep her safe.’

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