Spared prison because he can’t speak English: Romanian dishwasher dubbed ‘the Brighton bottom slapper’ who smacked 11 women as he cycled at night walks free
- Constantin Barbutu slapped at least 11 victims as he rode around Brighton
- He admitted 11 charges of sexual assault but avoided a jail term this morning
- Judge told mental health problems and lack of English would make prison hard
Constantin Barbutu has avoided jail for slapping women on the bottom as he rode around Brighton on his bike
A man dubbed the ‘Brighton bottom slapper’ for groping women from his bike has avoided a jail term after a judge was told he speaks no English and has mental health problems.
Constantin Barbutu, 22, slapped or groped the bottoms of women as they walked along the street, before quickly pedalling off.
Around 24 women claimed to have fallen victim to the ‘serial bottom slapper’ between September 2016 and February 2017.
Today, the Romanian dishwasher came before a court, but was freed on a 12-month suspended sentence.
He admitted 11 charges of sexual assault, while ten other counts of sexual assault were ordered to lie on file.
Handing him a suspended sentence Judge David Rennie said that if it wasn’t for the fact he speaks no English and suffers from mental impairment problems, then he would be facing jail.
He said: ‘You caused great fear and ongoing anguish. They were simply going about their business and they were fully entitled to be left alone.’
Judge Rennie said many of the victims had found the attacks ‘traumatic, frightening and terrifying’.
Hove Crown Court heard that Barbutu, who came to the UK three years ago and worked as a restaurant dishwasher and vegetable chopper in Brighton, struck late at night while out riding around on his bicycle.
He would target single women out walking or running alone and would then swoop down on them on his bike with his hoodie up.
Barbutu avoided jail after his lawyer said he speaks no English and has mental health problems
Barbutu would then either grope or slap their bottoms as he rode past. He would also make lewd suggestions or gestures towards them as he rode off.
On one occasion he hit one woman on the bottom and then circled round her on his bike, grinning and leering.
Another victim, who was cycling when she was attacked, fell off her bike and broke her collarbone.
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In a victim impact statement one victim said: ‘After the incident I felt really angry. It confused me as I was convinced it must be someone I know. It has made me feel really anxious. It was a really unpleasant experience.’
Detectives originally responded to more than 24 claims between September 2016 and February 2017.
Piers Reid, prosecuting, told the court: ‘The usual pattern was it happened late at night when a single woman was on her own.
‘He seems to identify sole individual females, approaches them on his bike with his hoodie up and strikes them on the bottom and rides off.’
Barbutu’s case was brought before a judge at Hove Crown Court (pictured) this morning
He said that although the category of sexual assault was the lowest the victims had been left terrified and upset by the attacks.
Richard Elliott, defending, said Barbutu was ‘remorseful’ and had told him: ‘I don’t know what I was thinking when I did it.’
He said Barbutu, who lives with his girlfriend in Hove, East Sussex, suffered from serious ‘intellectual impairment’ and needed help rather than imprisonment.
Sussex Police said most of the reported incidents happened at night and stretched right across the seaside resort – with most of the offences taking place from the early evening through to 3am.
Barbutu was handed one 12 month sentence and 10 nine month sentences to run concurrently. The sentences were suspended for two years and he was also ordered to carry out 40 rehabilitation days.
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