June 2011

Bus driver had sex with girl, 15, he met on school route

A BUS driver had sex with a schoolgirl after she became obsessed and “stalked” him.

Norman Sparrow initially rebuffed the 15-year-old’s advances but was flattered by her crush and eventually gave in, Derby Crown Court heard.

Yesterday, the 53-year-old, who drove the Trent Barton bus in Ilkeston that the teenager regularly caught to school, was jailed for three years.

Judge John Gosling said he did not consider Sparrow to be dangerous.

But he added: “You should have followed your first instincts and stopped what was happening.

“The girl was very nearly 16 and she encouraged what was happening. But the law is there as much to protect young girls from themselves as from adults like you – old enough to be her grandfather – taking advantage of them.”

Eddy Leonard, for Sparrow, said the teenager had admitted to police that her behaviour was “obsessive” and that she was following Sparrow around.

Miss Leonard said: “She often got on the bus herself to ride around for no other reason than to be near him.

She said: “She was clearly pursuing him, although that doesn’t make it in any way right.”

The court heard that, at the beginning, Sparrow had told his wife and others at work about the girl.

“He used to laugh and joke with his wife saying ‘oh I’ve seen my stalker today’,” said Miss Leonard. “He told the girl that he was old enough to be her father.”

The teenager had given Sparrow a card with her mobile number on and they had started texting and calling each other.

The court heard that he had started to enjoy her company and they had sexual encounters on four occasions.

A witness who suspected something was going on between the pair called the police.

Sparrow, of Windmill Rise, Somercotes, was convicted by a jury earlier this year of four counts of sexual activity with a child between March and June last year.

The court heard that, since the trial, Sparrow had admitted the offences and had been contrite.

Miss Leonard said that after being arrested Sparrow had tried to take his own life and had been in a coma for three days after his wife found him lying on the floor.

Sparrow must sign the sex offenders’ register and is banned from working with children for life.

He was also given a sexual offences prevention order to obey when he is released from jail, which bans him from going to any educational premises except for those attended by his children.

A spokesman for Trent Barton said: “Mr Sparrow has not worked at Trent Barton since the original incident came to light.”