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‘Brighton bottom slapper’ cyclist spared jail

Constantin Barbutu Image copyright PA
Image caption Constantin Barbutu had been due to face a trial but pleaded guilty to 11 charges

A cyclist dubbed the “Brighton bottom slapper” who attacked lone women in a series of late-night sex assaults has been spared jail.

Constantin Barbutu, 22, donned a hoodie and rode up to female pedestrians, joggers and cyclists before smacking or groping them.

He initially denied 21 charges of sexual assault, but later admitted 11.

Barbutu was too “intellectually impaired” to cope behind bars, Hove Crown Court heard.

Judge David Rennie handed him a 12-month suspended sentence and ordered him to complete 40 days of rehabilitation.

‘Menacing’

During the sentencing hearing, Piers Reed, prosecuting, described a “campaign of sexual assault” by Barbutu, who would strike women “on the bottom” and ride off.

Mr Reed said the defendant was “always on a bike, always wearing a hoodie up”.

In victim impact statements read out in court, one woman said: “His behaviour was menacing and I was alone in a dark, isolated place where no-one would hear a scream.”

Another said she was “horrified” when Barbutu squeezed her on the bottom and then returned to do so again while she watched him circling her and “smirking”.

Sentencing, Judge Rennie told Barbutu he would have been jailed “were it not for the fact that two experts agree that you do have severely impaired intellectual functioning.”

“What you chose to do to these 11 women who are complete strangers to you – you caused great fear, ongoing anguish,” he said.

Sussex Police said it received 24 reports from women between September 2016 and February 2017.

Richard Elliott, defending, described Barbutu as “cripplingly shy” and added: “He is sorry for what he has done.

“Punishment will not help him. It will vindicate the public for what he has done but would not assist him in any way.”

The remaining 10 counts against him were left to lie on file.

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