A MAN jumped out from an alleyway and kissed a terrified stranger on the shoulder before whispering ‘I love you’ in her ear, a court heard.

The victim was left so traumatised by the sexual assault that her hair started to fall out in the weeks following the incident.

She had been walking home through Blackburn town centre after a night out with friends in July, when a man appeared from an alleyway close to the cathedral.

Malik Akram, of St James’s Road, Blackburn, stood in front on the victim not letting her pass before he launched his assault.

Prosecuting the case, Alison Mather said that the victim has been forced to find a new job and move away from the area after suffering severe distress.

She said: “At around 11.25pm she became separated from her friends and decided to walk home alone.

“The defendant jumped out from an alley – she did not recognise him and asked him what he was doing.

“He then kissed her on her left shoulder and more than once on her bare skin. He told her that he loved her.

“She tried to get away but he took hold of her waist. She shouted at him and pulled away, this enabled her to leave.

“She then made her way to the railway station and called the police.”

Preston Crown Court heard how a swab was taken from her shoulder, where Akram’s DNA was detected.

He was later arrested and charged with sexual assault.

Adding that the victim had been on medication and to counselling sessions since the incident, Ms Mather said: “She describes what happened as affecting her gravely.

“The days after the attack she started suffering from panic attacks.

“About a fortnight later her hair had started to fall out.

“She states that prior to the offence she had an active social life, but no longer feels she can be in those situations – she will never go out in Blackburn town centre again.”

Akram, 38, who has 18 previous convictions for 43 offences, choose to be unrepresented for the sentencing, despite a defence barrister being available for him.

Sentencing Akram to eight months in prison suspended for 18 months and 40 rehabilitation days, recorder Andrew Long said: “You confronted a woman who was minding her own business.

“You sexually assaulted her by touching her and kissing her shoulder. You told her that you loved her but you had never met her before.

“I believe the reason for your bizarre behaviour is because you have been diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder that needs treatment, which I hope you will get.”

Akram must sign the sexual offenders register for 10 years.