A footwear fetishist who robbed women of their shoes has walked free from court with a suspended sentence.
Omar Abd-el-Gowd liked to steal shoes as they were being worn
Omar Abd-el-Gowd, 26, of Honor Oak Park, south-east London, had hundreds of shoes in his wardrobe when arrested.
Abd-el-Gowd admitted eight robberies between December 2005 and November 2006 and was sentenced to 12 months suspended for two years.
Inner London Crown Court heard his mother comforted him as a baby by putting her shoe in his cot.
As he grew older his desire for women's shoes took over his life and relationships and on moving to London from Stockton-on-Tees his obsession became stronger.
'Felt like monster'
The court heard he would approach his victims from behind and steal the shoes from their feet.
Abd-el-Gowd said: "It was only when I read the statements of my victims that I realised how serious this was.
"I felt like a monster. What I was reading was a description of someone I didn't recognise... I had convinced myself it was quite a minor thing I had been doing.
"I was in a state of denial."
Sentencing on Wednesday, Judge Colin Smith QC said: "There is absolutely no doubt that these were extremely frightening and traumatic occasions for the unfortunate women concerned."
But he added: "I am quite satisfied that you had absolutely no intention of harming the women physically in any way."
He said that apart from this recent offending it was clear Abd-el-Gowd was highly intelligent, popular at work and had an "exemplary character".
The judge told Abd-el-Gowd he must now "take the very best treatment... to rid yourself of this unfortunate fixation".
Last week jurors at Inner London Crown Court failed to reach a verdict on a charge of sexual assault and the Crown Prosecution Service said it was not in the public interest to proceed with a retrial.