May 2019

Train pervert who claimed ‘mistaken identity’ has plea for freedom rejected by judge

An already convicted sex offender who molested the legs of two lone females travelling on trains has been locked up.

Mohammed Ismail, 39, of Hilden Street, Bolton was caught after an ‘extensive’ investigation using CCTV footage and a media appeal.

Now he has been jailed for 12 months by a judge.

He had denied two counts of sexual assault and ran a trial claiming it was a case of ‘mistaken identity’, but magistrates found him guilty and sent the case to the crown court for sentence.

On both occasions Ismail sat directly next to his victims on trains last summer, despite there being plenty of other space within the carriage, Manchester Crown Court heard on Tuesday.

One of his victims was travelling from Manchester to Preston when Ismail sat next to her and began ‘shuffling’ closer to her and effectively ‘pinning her to the window’, prosecutor Adam Watkins said.

She became ‘extremely uncomfortable’ when, after rubbing his own thigh, he started to rub hers.

Shortly after she asked to get up and moved away from him.

Ismail got off at Horwich Parkway station.

He remained at large and was able to sexually assault another female, who was a teenager at the time, about a month later.

She was travelling from Manchester to Westhoughton in Bolton, and again Ismail squeezed up to her as she sat on the window seat.

As he did so she tried to edge away, but was left with nowhere left to go.

Similarly he rubbed his own thigh, then spread over to her thigh, and appeared to be looking directly at her while doing so.

She brushed his hand off, but he put it back on her leg.

Ismail then used his finger to mime a sex act.

Horrified, she sent a text to her sister and asked if she’d pick her up from Bolton station.

She got up to move away and shortly after broke down in tears.

A passenger briefly challenged Ismail, but he said nothing in response.

Detectives from the British Transport Police pored through CCTV footage, and they were also helped by a media appeal which helped to identify Ismail.

He was arrested in August and denied what he had done.

Ismail has previous convictions for sexual offences, including assault on a female under 16 and gross indecency for an incident in a public toilet.

Judge Alan Conrad QC said the offences were so serious only prison was appropriate.

The judge told Ismail, of Hilden Street, Bolton: “On two separate occasions you targeted female passengers who were travelling alone on the train.

“Both were vulnerable and one was particularly young.

“This was prolonged touching by you in circumstances which must have been extremely distressing for each of your victims.

“Women travelling alone on public transport deserve and need protection, and the courts will do all they can to afford that protection.”