The crimes committed in Piccadilly Gardens which shocked Manchester

Piccadilly Gardens is a landmark synonymous with Manchester, but sadly often for the wrong reasons. The area has gained a notorious reputation as being a magnet for crime – whether it be drug dealing, sexual offending or serious, terrifying violence.

It is often referenced in court cases, and as recently as last month the gardens were described as an area which is ‘sadly prone to people who have abused drink and or drugs’. Ambitious plans have been recently unveiled in a bid to rejuvenate the area, and the ‘hated’ wall was previously demolished.

It is hoped that these proposals will begin a new chapter for the gardens. But several court cases reveal just how the area has become a hotspot for serious crime.

Sex pest branded ‘blight on the city center’ after assault

Delovan Najeeb

Delovan Najeeb was banned from Piccadilly Gardens for life after being branded a ‘blight on the city center’. Najeeb, 38, approached a 16-year-old girl out with her friends in the gardens before sexually assaulting her.

His victim was forced to give evidence twice as he went to trial and then appealed the guilty verdict. Manchester Crown Court heard he had a previous conviction for an offense with ‘almost identical circumstances’.

The teenager revealed the emotional toll of having to recount her ordeal on two occasions. She said: “In court I have had to questioned and grilled about the ordeal you put me through, because you would not admit to what you had done. While I was doing that, what did you do? You laughed at me.

“While listening to how scared and violated you made me feel, you did not feel sorry or remorseful, you thought it was funny. It was so awful having to relive it all with you laughing at me.”

Najeeb was jailed for three years.

Knifeman caused terror in stabbing spree

Kieran McLoughlin

Kieran McLoughlin caused terror in Piccadilly Gardens after he embarked on a 10-minute stabbing spree. Panic ensued as members of the public feared it was a terror attack.

McLoughlin was actually targeting vulnerable men who were begging on the streets. He slashed four men to the face, and then another to the back while in full view of a busy Metrolink stop.

McLoughlin, 32, was eventually Tasered and later claimed he did not have any issue with homeless people. But said he said they ‘should be getting off their a *** to do work’.

He was handed a 23 year sentence, including 18 years in jail, and given an extra five year period on license when he was released. “Kieran McLoughlin embarked on what was a short but vicious campaign of cruel, cold, calculated, and targeted violence against these five vulnerable men, a campaign that was as motiveless and mindless as it was malicious and malignant,” Judge Timothy Smith said at Manchester Crown Court.

“There was clearly some wider impact on the public, who were justifiably concerned for their own safety in what was reported as random knife attacks, all happening at a time of heightened fears of terrorist attacks.”

‘Blatant’ drug dealing on a summer’s afternoon

The trio were sentenced at Manchester Crown Court

One case laid bare the shocking reality of ‘blatant’ drug dealing in such a public place.

Cannabis was being sold openly in broad daylight on a summer’s afternoon, as children played yards away.

Basha Norie, 19, Jija Osman, 20, and Kamila Zieba, 19, were caught on CCTV involved in the supply of the class B drug.

Norie, a ‘gifted footballer’ who was once captain of his school team, used two female co-defendants as a ‘cover’ for his dealing, Manchester Crown Court heard.

Footage showed them at the benches near the Tampopo restaurant in the Gardens, and ‘at least’ four deals took place within a half hour period.

Norie was found with £ 135, and Zieba had 30 snap bags of cannabis worth a total of £ 300.

In a statement read in court, city center Inspector Jonathan Shilvock said such drug dealing leads to a ‘negative perception’ of the city to visitors.

Judge Anthony Cross QC said police are doing a ‘first class’ job in Piccadilly Gardens with ‘limited resources’.

Norie, or no fixed address; Osman, of Puritan Walk, Collyhurst, and Zieba, formerly of Wellington Road, Crumpsall, now of Accrington; all pleaded guilty to supplying cannabis.

Norie was jailed for 18 months, Zieba was handed a three month sentence suspended for 12 months and Osman received a 12 month community order.

Tourist flew home after being targeted by gang

Rui Simoes, 21, from Pendleton, has been jailed for four years for three counts of robbery

A tourist visiting Manchester from Gran Canaria headed to Piccadilly Gardens to get some food. But he was set upon by a gang and punched to the face by Rui Simoes, then 21.

He was approached at about 2am near Burger King. The victim dropped a purse containing € 700, his passport and jewelery.

The gang made off with the cash but handed back the victim’s passport. Reeling from the attack, the victim cut short his holiday and went straight back home, explaining that he was too scared to remain in the city.

Simoes later pleaded guilty to three counts of robbery after also being involved in other terrifying attacks in the gardens. Judge Timothy Smith told him: “You were part of a group carrying out criminal activity on a regular basis in Piccadilly Gardens.

“There was a surge of robberies against people passing through Piccadilly Gardens at night, and you formed part of one particular gang that would target innocent victims and rob them of their possessions.”

Simoes was jailed for four years.

Woman sexually assaulted as she sat minding her own business

Abakwe Adam

A woman who was visiting the city from Canada was sitting by herself, minding her own business on a bench in Piccadilly Gardens. Abakwe Adam approached her and started behaving inappropriately.

He ‘wrapped his arms and legs around her’ before ‘rubbing himself’ up against her. Her ordeal lasted for about a minute, before police quickly arrested him.

Adam denied sexual assault but was convicted unanimously. He had already gained the attention of police prior to the sexual assault, after being seen approaching members of the public and ‘getting rather close to women’.

“She was entitled to feel safe in this public area and did not expect to be assaulted in the way that she was,” Judge Hilary Manley said of the victim.

“You were clearly under the influence of alcohol at the time,” she told 31-year-old Adam. He was sentenced to six months in jail and was ordered to sign the Sex Offenders Register for seven years.

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