Jail for Ripley man who assaulted woman

A Ripley man who sexually assaulted a Latvian woman who had been trafficked into the UK has been jailed for a year.

Kulvinder Singh Gill, 44, of Wellington Street, had previously pleaded guilty to sexual assault and appeared at Derby Crown Court with two other men from Wolverhampton.

Tajinder Singh,33, and Joao Dias, 52, pleaded guilty to Human Trafficking into the UK for Sexual Exploitation.

The court heard a 31-year-old Latvian man had contacted two Latvian women aged 25 and 17 via a dating website.

The girls were promised a sightseeing tour to London – but when they arrived in the UK on October 8, 2010, they were taken to the Premier Inn in Ripley.

Staff there alerted police on Monday, October 10, to suspicious activity at the hotel.

It was later revealed that one of the women was touched sexually by Gill while at the hotel.

Sentencing the Ripley man, Judge Ebrahim Mooncey, said: “At the hotel you gave the woman vodka.

“She took the view that you were trying to get her drunk.

“You tried to kiss her and she tried to move away, you then touched her leg.

“You knew that these two girls were not English, they were not local. You knew that they had come into the country.

“I’m not saying you were part of the organisation that brought them here.

“However the exploitative nature of the enterprise must reflect on you to some extent.”

Tajinder Singh was sentenced to 24 months and Joao Dias received the same.

Sandeep Singh, 26, and Dana Buciniece, 24, also faced charges of human trafficking, but no evidence was offered against them and they were released from court.

Prosecutor Andrew Peet said the 31-year-old Latvian man, who cannot be named at this stage,is awaiting extradition to the UK for trial.

The male, currently serving a prison term in his home country for a minor offence, is alleged to have arranged for Dias and Singh to meet with Latvian girls in England.

A European arrest warrant has been served to him.

The two women first made contact with the Latvian male through a dating site, which the prosecution accepted had the potential of interacting users for

“sexual purposes.”

They had independently met with the man in Latvia before consenting to visit the UK with him for the weekend of October 8, 2010.

But unknown to them, the women were only provided with a one-way ticket, whereas the Latvian man had a return flight arranged.

They had packed one set of clothes and carried little money.

Mr Peet continued: “These women were duped by the Latvian male by their understanding of what was going to happen and what the purpose of the trip was.”

The women believed they were travelling to London. But they flew with the Latvian man to Gatwick airport and were immediately driven to Ripley by Dias and Singh on arrival.

The party made a brief visit to Gill at the takeaway outlet he was running on Wellington Street in Ripley.

When the party arrived at the Premier Inn, Dias booked a room for five people using a credit card.

Mr Peet said the women were ‘wined and dined’ in the town that evening by Dias, Singh and the Latvian man. The 25-year-old woman was taken to a nightclub in the town, while the 17-year-old was taken back to the hotel.

Then, on returning to the Premier Inn that night, the men booked another room at the request of hotel staff.

The Latvian man allegedly had sex with the younger of the women in one room, while Singh and Dias had sex with the older of the two in a separate room.

But later on Saturday night the Latvian man left the group - and returned to his home country, leaving the women in the clutches of the two strangers.

The 17-year-old reportedly demanded her passport be returned to her when she found out her and her friend’s escort had left the country.

She was handed the item, but convinced to remain in the country by the men.

The following day the men drove the women to the West Midlands and took them shopping for clothes, before later returning to their hotel.

It was on the Sunday evening when Gill, who arrived at the Premier Inn under the pretence that he was delivering pizzas for the group, committed the sexual assault on the older of the women after giving her vodka to drink.

His advances were stopped when a fire alarm went off in the hotel.

A member of staff knocked on the hotel room door and asked Gill and the 25-year-old to vacate the room for their own safety.

The same night police were alerted to the men’s activities by hotel staff, who had become suspicious of people entering and leaving the rooms.

Dias was discovered by police in bed with the same woman the following morning when the force swooped on the hotel.

Gill, who lived with his wife and child in Ripley, and who has since admitted living illegally in the UK for the past 11 years, was arrested shortly after when he arrived at he hotel in his car.

He could now face deportation.

Singh was arrested at his home in Wolverhampton, where he was keeping the younger of the women.

Defending Gill, Sarah Munro, said her client was less involved in the organising of the crime than the other two defendants.

She added: This defendant has spoken of his remorse, his shame, not only to himself but to what he has done and the impact it’s had on his family and the victim.”

After the sentencing, senior officer for the United Kingdom Human Trafficking Control division of SOCA Phil Welsh, said the case represented the first conviction of its kind in Derbyshire.

He said it is still important that the two women are considered as victims in the case - despite consenting to some sexual activity over the course of the weekend in England.

He said: “Victims can feel as if they are in virtual imprisonment.

“They didn’t speak English and have no knowledge of foreign law enforcement procedures.

“If they didn’t follow these guys, where else were they going to go?”

Derbyshire police worked with the Serious and Organised Crime Agency, UK Human Trafficking Centre, Europol and the Latvian Police to bring the case to court.

Detective Sergeant Steve Roberts, from Amber Valley CID, said after the case: “These convictions would not have been possible without the bravery of the victims and the quick thinking of the Premier Inn staff.

“We would like to appeal to hotels in the county to look out for suspicious activity and report anything of concern to the police.”

“Luckily as the offenders pleaded guilty the victims did not have to re-live their ordeal through a trial.”