Blackburn religious teacher guilty of child sex offences

Blackburn Citizen: Suleman Maknojioa Suleman Maknojioa

A RELIGIOUS teacher has been found guilty of committing sexual activity with a child during lessons.

Suleman Maknojioa had denied allegations that he touched the girl.

But after a week-long trial and around two hours of deliberations, a jury unanimously found the 40-year-old defendant, of Audley Range, Blackburn, guilty of the five charges.

Speaking after the verdict, Maknojioa said he had 'no comments' to make.

Preston Crown Court had heard how the teacher would stroke the leg of his victim, put his hand under her headscarf and squeeze her chest.

The defendant had maintained that he only ever touched the girl to pat her on the back when she had done well or to show her praying positions.

Summing up, judge Michael Byrne said the girl had told the court: "I did not want it, but I was too afraid to say something.

"He was not touching me like 'well done'. It was not like that.

"He put his hand under my scarf and squeezed my chest.

"You do not do that when somebody says well done."

The case was adjourned yesterday for the preparation of a pre sentence report.

Judge Byrne said the defendant had been in a position of trust.

He said: "This was contact which stretched over quite a lengthy period of time.

"By virtue of his position, he has access to children generally in the course of his teaching obligations.

"There are serious aggravating features about this case.

"I want to know everything about the defendant's background."

Maknojioa, who was released on bail, will be sentenced on February 19.

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