Sunday 22 September 2019

Man accused of attempted kidnapping and sexual assault of girl (8)

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A man has appeared in court accused of attempting to kidnap and sexually assault an eight-year-old girl after she posted a letter.

Michael Belhawla, 24, is accused of grabbing and pushing her to the ground in Brighton's North Laine area before being startled by passers-by.

Belhawla, who spoke only to confirm his particulars, was remanded in custody when he appeared at Brighton Magistrates' Court.

The assailant fled from Tidy Street in the East Sussex city at about 8.25am on Saturday, according to Sussex Police.

The girl was left severely shocked and grazed, the force added.

Detectives urged three potential witnesses seen in CCTV footage to contact the force.

Belhawla, of Auckland Drive, Brighton, will appear at Lewes Crown Court on June 6 charged with attempted kidnap and attempted sexual assault on a girl aged under 13 by touching.

PA Media

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