HMA v Ajay Varma

At Hamilton Sheriff Court today, 12 July 2017, Sheriff Daniel Kelly QC sentenced Ajay Varma to four years’ imprisonment after the accused pled guilty to having sexual intercourse with an older child, and taking and distributing indecent images of the teenage girl and stalking her.

On sentencing, Sheriff Kelly made the following statement in court:

“Ajay Varma, over a period of almost a year you entered into some sort of relationship with a girl initially aged 14 when you were 41.

“After her grandmother spoke to you about difficulties that she was experiencing, you offered her employment at your shop and embarked upon a sexual relationship with her.

“During this time you took a video of yourselves while engaging in sexual intercourse at your shop and you also had in your possession a number of topless photographs of her.

“Towards the end of this period you engaged in a course of conduct stalking this girl. Providing her with a mobile phone in which a tracker had been installed, you traced her location and followed her.

“Several times a day you drove past her house and repeatedly followed her when she left. You followed her to a play park, on the bus and at the train station.

“You repeatedly sent her messages asking who she was with, what she was doing and where she was going. Demanding her passwords, you logged onto her social media accounts in order to monitor her conversations.

“All of this made her feel frightened and uncomfortable.

“You threatened her and her friends and repeatedly accused her of sleeping with other people and in particular with a postman who was a friend of the family.

“You repeatedly threatened to kill any boyfriend that she might have.

“You posted sexual images of her on Snapchat.

“When the girl stopped replying to you on social media you set up a fake Facebook account in her name and posted messages on it.

“You messaged her telling her that you hoped that she would commit suicide and to wait until everyone saw her videos and pictures.

“Finally, when you drove past the girl as she stood at a bus stop one evening along with her mother and this other man, you stopped, shouted at her, called her a liar and threatened to break the man’s legs.

“It was later that evening that you sent the video which had been taken to the girl’s mother.

“You posted the photographs of the girl on Facebook, Snapchat and WhatsApp.

“Later when she messaged you to ask why you were doing this you responded that you did not care if you got the jail but that everyone was going to know.

“This began, then, in a period when you were the girl’s employer. She was having certain difficulties and her grandmother had confided in you.

“There is a considerable age gap between you both. The situation persisted for almost a year.

“You used your financial position in a controlling manner. You recorded and obtained images of yourselves.

“You became increasingly controlling and intimidating of her. After seeing her at the bus stop you sent the video to, of all people, her mother.

“You do not have a criminal record of any substance. However, the gravity of the offences to which you have pled guilty is such that no method of dealing with you other than a custodial sentence is appropriate.

“I recognise that there is an element of overlap between the individual offences and that the total sentence imposed over the several charges requires to be just and proportionate.

“Taking into account your plea of guilty at the trial diet, I shall impose a sentence of 32 months’ imprisonment on charge 1 (under section 28 of the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009), modified from one of three years to reflect your guilty plea.

“On charge 3 (under section 52(1)(A) of the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982) I shall impose a sentence of 11 months’ imprisonment, modified from one year, to run concurrently.

“On charge 4 (under section 39(1) of the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010) I shall impose a sentence of 11 months’ imprisonment, modified from one year to run consecutively and on charge 5 (under section 52(1)(B) of the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982) I shall impose a consecutive sentence of five months’ imprisonment, modified from six months.

“That is a total of four years’ imprisonment modified from four years and six months, which is backdated to 31 May 2017.

“You have been assessed as suitable for the Moving Forward Making Changes programme, have indicated your intention to comply with this and this will be available to you in prison.

“The effect of this sentence is that you will be subject to the notification requirements of which you were previously advised for an indefinite period beginning with 31 May 2017.”