“Holy man” who sexually assaulted woman during naked healing ritual is jailed


A self-appointed holy man has today been sentenced at Birmingham Crown Court to two years' imprisonment and ordered to sign on the sex offenders register after he pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a woman during a supposed "healing ritual" in her home in February 2014.

Syed Shah, aged 29, from Stechford, Birmingham visited the victim and ordered her to undress, and then under the guise of healing her he sexually assaulted her.

The victim notified the police and Shah was arrested. He denied being anywhere near to the location of the assault, however, his mobile phone data was analysed which then put him near to the scene of the crime.

The defendant was subsequently charged and pleaded guilty to sexual assault.

Claire Nicholls, Senior Crown Prosecutor from the West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service's Rape and Serious Sexual Offences Unit, said: "Syed Shah promoted himself within his local community as a holy man and therefore someone who had a position of responsibility and more importantly trust.  He breached this trust and preyed on a vulnerable victim who he assaulted for his own personal sexual gratification. He used his position of authority as a holy man and healer to pressurise the victim into consenting to sexual acts. This meant she did not consent freely which is required in law.

"I would like to take this opportunity of thanking the victim who came forward and supported the prosecution case which has enabled us to bring to justice a very dangerous sexual predator."