Zia Uddin, a security guard at Primark, was found guilty of raping four 15-year-old shoplifters after he threatened to call the police if they didn’t comply.
The 27-year-old security guard was employed by Brooknight Security to watch over the Primark store in Kingston upon Thames, and caught four 15-year old shoplifters in the store in 2017.
Kingston Crown Court heard that Uddin threatened to call the police and their parents – his victims attempted to give the items back, or asked to work in the shop to pay back for their crimes, but that was not what Uddin wanted.
It became clear to the victims that the only way they could leave would be to do as he said. “There was no other choice,” one of the girls testified.
Uddin was caught after somebody close to his victims informed the police of his actions. His colleagues had become wary of his behaviour, including asking to delete CCTV, not filling out the correct paperwork for shoplifting incidents, and keeping condoms in his control room.
He was found guilty of rape and four counts of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity. Graham Partridge, from the Crown Prosecution Service, said that Uddin had “preyed on young girls in a vulnerable situation”:
He abused his authority by telling them to perform sexual acts for him on the promise they would then be released without their parents or the police being informed about what they had done. Having worked in security, Uddin was also well aware of the CCTV camera “blind spots” and took advantage of these in order to carry out his offending. The prosecution case was able to rely on strong witness testimony from the victims, who were able to give evidence via pre-recorded video after the CPS applied for special measures. During the trial Uddin claimed all the victims were liars and refused to take responsibility for his actions. He has now been held accountable for his actions. The CPS takes sexual offences extremely seriously and will prosecute offenders where there is the evidence to do so.
The now ex-security guard had kept a note of the phone numbers of the shoplifters and had called them up in an attempt to entice them back, the court heard.
A spokesman for Primark commented on the case and their involvement with him as a security guard:
This has been a horrendous ordeal for the victims and their families and we are truly sorry for what they have suffered. Our thoughts are very much with them. The nature of these offences is shocking and distressing. Zia Uddin abused the trust that was placed in him by his employer, Brooknight Security, and by us, by taking advantage of his victims, who were young and vulnerable.
A spokesman for the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children gave a statement on the outcome of the trial:
Uddin’s victims have shown a tremendous amount of bravery in recounting the actions of a man who cruelly exploited their vulnerability. Uddin’s role gave him power and authority over these girls and he betrayed that privilege for his own twisted satisfaction, indisputably proving the danger he poses to young people.
Uddin will be sentenced on November 19th.