Man who repeatedly gropes woman on train despite confrontation is spared jail

Pervert who repeatedly groped unconscious woman on train was spared jail

Leon Clarkson took aim at the woman after seeing her collapse on a tube train (Image: North News)

A pervert who repeatedly fondled an unconscious stranger in front of horrified train passengers was spared jail.

Leon Clarkson, 21, was seen putting his hand on the woman’s leggings several times during the trip and lying that she was his girlfriend when a concerned traveler confronted him.

He then “picked up” the woman, who had been taking prescription medication before the ride, “and escorted her off the train.

Luckily, an “uncomfortable” passenger wrote her boyfriend to tell him what she had seen and police were called, who found the victim passed out at a North Tyneside tube station.

Prosecutor Neil Pallister told Newcastle Crown Court she only found out what happened when officers told her.

He said: “She woke up in the hospital to be told by the police after their investigation that she had been sexually assaulted.”

The court heard a train passenger say the woman was “completely unconscious” and “couldn’t even get up.”

She described seeing a man put his hand on her leggings, which “kept happening,” adding, “I don’t think she could have walked away from him.

“She wasn’t able to be happy with what happened.”

When the witness challenged the man, he said the victim was his girlfriend and that he was “a little dizzy.”

Mr Pallister added: “The witness describes picking up the complainant, getting her to her feet and escorting her off the tube.”


Leon Clarkson admitted to sexual assault (Image: North News & Pictures Ltd)

The court heard a man who saw Clarkson and the victim as they got off the train said the victim was “completely incoherent”.

In a victim statement, the woman said: “I had been on medication before boarding the subway and I don’t remember what happened to me.

“The police investigating the crime told me what happened. This made me sick and very anxious.

“I didn’t know who this man was. I didn’t even know what was happening to me. I was very vulnerable at that point and I think it’s awful that he could do that on a subway in front of other people.

“I am very concerned that he will do this to a vulnerable woman or girl again. Now when I see a drunk girl or woman I always tell them to come home safely and I worry about them.’

She added, “I really think if he’s able to do that in front of witnesses on a busy subway train, he could be doing something worse to someone else.”

Clarkson, from Hougton, Sunderland, admitted to sexual assault. The court heard he had a criminal record for violating public decency by committing a sexual act on a bus.

The judge, Mr Recorder Tahir Khan KC, told him: “The applicant was totally at your mercy and you took advantage of her by touching her when she clearly could not consent.”

But he imposed a three-year community order with sex offender program requirements after Clarkson’s attorney said he had learning disabilities and a history of mental health problems.

Jamie Adams defended himself, saying long-term intervention could rehabilitate Clarkson, who was “using a lot of cannabis” at the time of the attack and is sorry for what he did.

The pervert was asked to put himself on the sex offender register for five years.

The judge said the community ruling was not a “dismissal” and would require a lot of work.

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Justin Scacco

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