March 2012

Teen girls pestered for sex by former Leicester politician

A former Leicester city councillor who caused a political storm by describing Gordon Brown as “the worst Prime Minister in history”, pestered two schoolgirls for sex and indecently assaulted a young woman.

Manish Sood kissed a 22-year-old on her bottom in the guise of “therapy” and offered to pay two girls, aged 14 and 15, to visit his home for “massages”.

Divorced Sood (40), of Roundhill Road, Leicester, appeared at the city’s Crown Court to be sentenced for the offences, which he admitted.

Sood was Labour councillor for Leicester’s Fosse Ward and Parliamentary candidate for Norfolk North West when he criticised Gordon Brown two years ago, making national headlines and damaging Labour’s 2010 election campaign.

He was suspended from the party but readmitted in January last year. He remained Fosse councillor until the local elections last May, when he did not seek re-election.

The Crown Court hearing was told that on February 6 last year that Sood phoned one of the teenage victims after she posted an advert on the Gumtree website seeking a part-time job.

Prosecutor Sian Cutter said Sood offered to pay her £20 to lie down on a couch and have a massage, which she refused.

He continued to contact her, urging her to meet him at his home. Sood rang her 27 times and sent 15 texts.

The girl complained to a 15-year-old friend at school, who rang Sood and told him to leave her friend alone.

But Sood then directed his attention to the friend, asking if she was interested in “therapy”, and sending 26 texts and phoning 152 times in three days, suggesting she visit for “physical tantra”.

He told her to bring “toe rings and condoms”, the court heard.

Sood suggested picking her up from school, which worried her as she had not told him where it was.

In front of a teacher, she told Sood to stop bothering her on the phone, to which he replied: “Even for £200? Let me know if you change her mind.”

He was then reported to the police. When arrested, he accepted he had “sexual motives” towards the schoolgirls and claimed his medication made him “forgetful”.

Ms Cutter told the court that Sood had met the 22-year-old woman through Gumtree in January last year, and she went to his home genuinely believing he was a therapist.

Sood took her to his bedroom to demonstrate relief of “aroma and tantra”.

He massaged over her clothes, touching her inappropriately and kissing her stomach, causing her to freeze in fear.

Sood massaged her back, pulled down her leggings and underwear and kissed her bottom. She was too scared and uncomfortable to say anything and left, the court heard.

Sood admitted causing or inciting the two teenagers to engage in sexual activity, and to sexually assaulting the 22-year-old.

Judge Michael Pert QC said: “It’s conduct of a dirty old man, and you’re not even old.”

Robert Underwood, mitigating, said Sood began suffering mental health difficulties in 2008, starting with thoughts someone was out to kill him. He has received psychiatric treatment and is on medication.

However, the judge told Sood: “The psychiatric report makes it plain there’s no connection between this and your mental health problems.”

Sood was given a three-year community order with supervision. He must attend a sex offender group work programme.

He was made the subject of a sexual offences prevention order banning unsupervised contact with children under 16 and restrictions placed on his computer use.

Mr Underwood said: “He’s aware of the shame he’s brought upon his family.

“His mother is in court but his brother no longer wishes to have anything to do with him.

“Another consequence is that he’s lost his job.

“He’s a hard working man from a caring family who are very active in their civic responsibilities.

“Other than his mental health problems, there’s no explanation as to why he behaved so out of character.”