Accused stalker in jail over sex attack with belt
A man who allegedly pulled a belt around a woman's neck before sexually assaulting her on a street in Sydney's southwest has been refused bail.
Muhammad Hassan, 23, appeared in Parramatta Bail Court on Sunday after being charged with a string of serious offences over the incident in broad daylight last Thursday.
Police allege the 27-year-old woman was walking home from Chester Hill railway station when Hassan approached her from behind, put a belt around her neck and pulled her towards him about 6.20pm.
The woman turned around and confronted Hassan before he allegedly ran away near the intersection of Priam St and Forshaw Ave, according to police.
She avoided physical injury and made her way home only a few hundred metres away from the alleged attack before immediately calling police.
Detectives arrested Hassan at a home in Chester Hill on Saturday before charging him with attempting to take a person with an intent to commit a serious indictable offence, stalking, sexually touching another person without consent and common assault.
Hassan did not apply for bail in court on Sunday and it was formally refused.
He is due to appear in Bankstown Local Court on Wednesday. According to police allegations in documents tendered to the court, Hassan touched the alleged victim for his own sexual gratification.
Disturbing CCTV footage obtained from the location around the same time of the attack shows a man pursuing a woman, just metres behind her, before taking off his belt and looking around.
Police had released separate footage in the hope of receiving help from the public before they arrested Hassan.
Detective Assistant Inspector Paul Stamoulis said the man had allegedly stalked the woman from behind. "The male person has approached her from behind, placed the belt up over her head around her back and pulled her towards himself," he said.
"(It's allegedly) very brazen and quite unusual. It's a very distressing thing to occur to a person and you wouldn't expect it to occur in a street at that time of the day … it's very, very uncommon for the area," he said.
"It's broad daylight … she left the train station at 6.15pm and it's (allegedly) probably happened at around 6.20pm."
Nearby resident Mish Assaf told Channel 9 the area was popular with children and families.
"Knowing that something like that's happening outside my home - there's kids walking to the shops, there's shops just up the road - it's pretty scary," she said.