A schoolgirl was left terrified by a man who rubbed her leg and kissed her feet at Romford Station. 

The man had asked the 15-year-old girl for directions but when she helped him he “caressed” her knee and kissed her feet, a court heard. 

Members of the public had to step in to separate the man from the girl, who was visibly distressed and crying. 

Emil Muresan, 50, of Slade Green Road in Erith, was arrested at a nearby bus stop after the girl reported the incident to a teacher at her school. 

But he told police that where he comes from in Turkey it is common to kiss people’s feet to say thank you.   

Muresan said he would kiss anyone on the feet, whether they were male or female. 

On Monday (March 18) he was ordered to carry out 55 hours of unpaid work after he pleaded guilty to battery. 

Romford Recorder: Emil Muresan pictured leaving Inner London Crown CourtEmil Muresan pictured leaving Inner London Crown Court (Image: Newsquest)

'Where are you going? Come back!'

Prosecutor Jacinta Stringer told the court that on April 25 last year the girl was on her way to school wearing school uniform. 

“She was waiting for the train when she noticed the defendant shouting angrily at his phone,” Ms Stringer said. 

When she sat down on a bench he came and sat next to her and asked for her help getting to Romford Magistrates’ Court

As he did not speak much English, she offered to use a translator app to help him.

But he then put his hand on her knee and rubbed it back and forth. 

“She said she found it weird that a man would touch her like that, but wasn’t overly concerned until he then bent down and kissed her foot,” Ms Stringer said. 

The girl said she felt panicked and wanted to run away as she did not know what he would do next. 

A member of the public later intervened and asked if she was ok. 

They separated Muresan from the girl until she was able to get on a train. 

While they were separated Muresan continued to shout at the girl, saying: “Where are you going? Come back."

Romford Recorder: The incident happened on a busy platform at Romford StationThe incident happened on a busy platform at Romford Station (Image: Newsquest)

'A Turkish custom'

When Muresan was arrested he told police that it is customary in Turkey to thank people by kissing their feet. 

He told officers that he had not seen her crying. He also admitted that he had been drinking but this had not influenced his behaviour. 

A probation officer who interviewed Muresan about the offence said the defendant tried to kiss his feet at the end of the conversation. 

Muresan’s barrister said his client repeatedly tried to do this to him too.

Muresan had initially been charged with sexual assault, but he later pleaded guilty to battery instead and the earlier charge was dropped. 

Sentencing him at Inner London Crown Court, Judge Anne Studd KC said: “You say it is a cultural normality for you, and there is some evidence to say that is true. But for her it caused panic.” 

He was given a one-year community order with a requirement that he must complete 55 hours of unpaid work.