A Doncaster beggar who sexually assaulted two 13-year-old schoolgirls outside a South Yorkshire train station has been jailed for a year.
Lee Anderson, 31, of Avenue Road, Askern, Doncaster was sentenced at Sheffield Crown Court earlier this week, following an investigation by British Transport Police (BTP).
The court heard how in August last year, an intoxicated Anderson, who had already been served with an anti-social behaviour order (ASBO) preventing him from begging at Doncaster railway station, approached the two 13-year-olds as they sat on a bench outside the entrance to Sheffield station
He began asking them questions of a sexual nature and the girls, frightened by his remarks, attempted to move away but Anderson reached out, embracing the girls and then trying to kiss them.
As they struggled, he indecently assaulted the pair before one of them managed to break away.
A shop assistant working nearby witnessed the struggle and rushed over, telling him to leave the girls alone.
Anderson then backed away but later returned and attempted to grab the girls a second time.
Both managed to break away and reported the incident to a British Transport Police officer.
Around two hours later officers spotted Anderson from the description the girls had given and he was arrested.
Both the girls and the shop assistant picked out Anderson, who denied the charge, from an identification parade.
Investigating officer Detective Constable Ian Grice said: “Anderson’s actions that day understandably left these very young girls terrified.
“Their actions and bravery reflects the message of our Report it to Stop it campaign, calling on all victims of any unwanted sexual behaviour to report it to BTP officers who will treat it seriously and believe what is reported to us.
“It is vital that victims feel confident enough to report anything which has made them feel uncomfortable and be reassured that their allegation will be dealt with seriously.
“Committing offences of unwanted sexual behaviour is wholly unacceptable and we will continue to work together with our policing colleagues and partners to catch offenders and bring them to justice.”
Anderson was handed a 12-month sentence, and a criminal behaviour order for three years, with the following conditions:
· Not to approach members of the public for the purpose of begging.
· Not to be intoxicated through drink or drugs in Doncaster or Sheffield town/city centres
He has also been placed on the sexual offenders’ register for ten years.