LONDON: A black cab driver bombarded Jemima Khan, the former wife of PTI Chairman Imran Khan, with more than 1,000 phone calls and messages after she posed for a selfie with him.
Hassan Mahhmood, 27, managed to get the 43-year-old journalist and socialite’s phone number when she booked the cab through the Hailo app.
His barrister Umar Ali told reporters that the driver was a ‘big fan’ of Khan because of her marriage to his hero, Pakistani cricket legend Imran Khan.
According to details, Jemima Khan received more than 1,000 phone calls and messages from the driver.
Jemima Khan agreed to a photograph Mahhmood after he picked up her and her friends up from a jazz club on June 16, 2016. Days later he started his year-long campaign of harassment, using 18 different mobile phones to send 203 texts, make 1,182 calls, and send ‘loads of’ WhatsApp messages.
Mahhmood told Khan that he ‘loved her’, ‘wanted to know her’, and asked her ‘why he could not be friends with her’.
‘He was totally obsessed with her and wanted to meet her, to the extent the last two text messages in July 2017 consist of him wanting to come and visit her,’ she said.
The fear of that prompted her to go to police after several months of enduring the stress he put her through. It was her sheer kindness of not reporting him in the first instance.
Mahhmood, from Waltham Forest in north-east London, pleaded guilty to a charge of harassment without violence between June 16 and July 18 this year.
In a victim impact statement Khan, who is also the daughter of late billionaire entrepreneur Sir James Goldsmith and the sister of MP Zac Goldsmith, said: ‘The incident has made me incredibly anxious at times. I would be home alone and he would call me several times and text repeatedly late at night.
‘Sometimes he would send texts saying he would come to my house. That really frightened me.’
The court heard Mahhmood had no previous convictions but the prosecutor said he should be sentenced on the basis of his “persistent pestering behaviour”.
His defence barrister said none of the messages had been of a threatening nature.
Mahhmood’s marriage broke down during the harassment campaign and he has been stripped of his Hackney Carriage licence, his barrister said.
Judge Martin Edmunds QC adjourned sentencing to 26 October and told Mahhmood he would require pre-sentence reports to find out what was behind his “obsessive behaviour” and that he could face jail. – Samaa
Story first published: 29th September 2017