Man who repeatedly groped woman on train despite being confronted is spared jail

Leon Clarkson targeted the woman after seeing her slumped on a Metro train (Picture: North News)

A pervert who repeatedly groped an unconscious stranger in front of horrified train passengers has been spared jail.

Leon Clarkson, 21, was spotted putting his hand down the woman’s leggings several times during the journey and lied that she was his girlfriend when one worried traveller confronted him.

He then ‘picked up’ the woman, who had taken prescription medication before the journey, and led her off the train.

Fortunately, one ‘uncomfortable’ passenger texted her boyfriend to tell him what she saw and the police were called, who found the victim passed out at a Metro station in North Tyneside.

Prosecutor Neil Pallister told Newcastle Crown Court she only became aware of what had happened when the officers told her.

He said: ‘She woke up in hospital, to be told by the police, following their enquiries, that she had been sexually assaulted.’

The court heard one train passenger said the woman appeared ‘totally unconscious’ and ‘couldn’t even sit up’.

She described seeing a male putting his hand down her leggings, which ‘kept happening’, adding: ‘I don’t believe she could have moved away from him.

‘She was in no fit state to content to what was happening.’

When the witness challenged the male he said the victim was his girlfriend and was a ‘bit dizzy’.

Mr Pallister added: ‘The witness describes how he picked up the complainant, took her to her feet and escorted her off the Metro train.’

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

The court heard a man who saw Clarkson and the victim as they got off the train said the victim appeared ‘completely incoherent’.

In a victim impact statement, the woman said: ‘I had taken medication before I got on the Metro and I have no recollection of what happened to me.

‘The police investigating the crime told me what happened. This made me feel ill 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 terrible he could do that on a Metro in front of other people.

‘I’m very worried he will do this again to a vulnerable woman or girl. When I see a drunk girl or woman I now always tell them to get home safe and I worry about them.’

She added: ‘I truly believe if he is capable of doing this in front of witnesses on a busy Metro train he could do something worse to someone else.’

Clarkson, of Hougton, Sunderland, admitted sexual assault. The court heard he has a previous conviction for outraging public decency by committing a sex act on a bus.

The judge, Mr Recorder Tahir Khan KC, told him: ‘The complainant was completely at your mercy and you took advantage of her by touching her when she clearly could not be consenting.’

But he imposed a community order for three years with sex offender programme requirements after Clarkson’s lawyer said he has learning difficulties and a history of mental health issues.

Defending, Jamie Adams said long term intervention could rehabilitate Clarkson, who was ‘taking lots of cannabis’ at the time of the attack and is sorry for what he did.

The pervert was ordered to sign the sex offenders register for five years.

The judge said the community sentence was not a ‘let off’ and will require a lot of work.

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