A drunk man who sexually assaulted a tourist in Piccadilly Gardens in front of police - then denied he had done anything wrong - has been found guilty.

Abakwe Adam, 31, had been ‘causing a nuisance’ in the popular spot in Manchester city centre before police officers became involved.

After being asked to move on, Adam returned ‘within minutes’, Manchester Crown Court heard during his trial.

A tourist from Canada was sitting by herself on a bench nearby when Adam, of no fixed abode, approached her.

He ‘wrapped his arms and legs around her’ before ‘rubbing himself’ up against her, the court heard.

Piccadilly Gardens

The whole incident took place over less than a minute.

The officers who had previously moved him on witnessed the sexual assault and arrested him immediately, jurors were told.

Adam denied an offence of sexual assault, but has since been found guilty unanimously after the jurors made their decision in four hours and 20 minutes. He was sentenced to six months imprisonment.

He had previously been convicted of a charge of ‘mute of malice’, after he refused to speak in court.

In what was thought to be the first trial of its kind, the ‘practically medieval’ charge was brought against Adam after he failed to enter a plea on two separate occasions.

In opening the case to the jury, prosecutor Neil Fryman said the attack happened on May 14, 2019, at around lunchtime in the city centre.

“The lady in question was visiting the country, she is originally from Canada,” Mr Fryman said.

“The position was that the police were already, prior to the sexual assault, watching this defendant keeping tabs on him because he was making a nuisance of himself.

“He was unsteady on his feet, he was approaching other members of the public, complete strangers, and he was getting rather close to women.

“Whilst he was doing this two uniformed officers approached him, talked to him and took him away from the area and moved him on.

“Only a few minutes later he comes back on the scene and commits the sexual assault.”

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was sat on a bench ‘minding her own business’ and didn’t know the defendant at all when he approached her, it was said.

“He puts his arms around her body and he put his legs around her and rubbed himself, including his penis, up against her,” Mr Fryman continued.

“Essentially straddling her.

“She doesn’t want it, she doesn’t know him from Adam and she says ‘don’t touch me, stop touching me, get the f*** off me’.

“He is immediately arrested by the police having been seen by the two officers who were aware of what he was doing.”

Adam fully denied the offence in interview, claiming he didn’t know he was doing anything wrong and ‘certainly didn’t assault anybody’, the court heard.

Abakwe Adam

Giving evidence, the woman, in her late 20’s, told the court she was visiting family and friends when she had stopped to have a drink and ‘enjoy the weather’.

She described the man who approached her as being in his mid to late 30s, wearing a burgundy hat, wearing tight thin dreadlocks, a tan coat and blue jeans.

“He approached me and it was uncomfortable - he seemed antsy,” she wept.

“He came up to me, wrapped his arms around my body, pinning my arms to me, we were face to face.

“He wrapped his arms around my body, I couldn’t move my arms.

“He straddled my leg whilst my arms were pulled against me and he was grinding his junk into my thigh - his genital region.

“I felt anxious and angry and vulnerable.”

The woman said she told him not to touch her, before ‘screaming’ at him to ‘get the f*** off’ her.

PC Lukman Intwala told the jury he was one of the officers who arrested Adam at the scene.

He said: “He was seen by a radio operative on the CCTV acting suspiciously so we went to speak to the male.

“He didn’t make much sense at all, his words were slurred - he appeared to be drunk.”

Sentencing him, Judge Hilary Manley told him: “It was a very distressing and upsetting experience for the victim who was simply minding her own business in a public area.

“She was entitled to feel safe in this public area and did not expect to be assaulted in the way that she was.

“You were clearly under the influence of alcohol at the time.

“You do have mental health issues and I’ve heard during this trial that you had issues in your life before coming to this country.”

Adam has effectively served half of his sentence of imprisonment already as he has been in custody for 20 months - so will be released immediately, the court was told.

He was made subject of the Sex Offenders Register for a period of seven years.