Jailed Sheffield bus driver freed on appeal

Bus driver Mark Marriott, jailed for two-and-a-half years for sending indecent images of himself to young female passengers.
Bus driver Mark Marriott, jailed for two-and-a-half years for sending indecent images of himself to young female passengers.
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A BUS driver locked up for two-and-a-half years after he sent child passengers lewd photos of himself has been freed from prison on appeal.

Mark Marriott, aged 44, targeted three girls of 13 and 12, sending indecent images to their mobiles on journeys around Sheffield.

The former Stagecoach driver was jailed at Sheffield Crown Court in April but his sentence has been cut to a three-year community order with supervision.

Marriott used Bluetooth technology to send the messages, so he did not need the girls’ numbers. The court heard he was driving a bus to Crystal Peaks shopping centre in December 2010 when he sent a picture exposing himself to a 13-year-old girl.

He struck again the following April, sending a 12-year-old a pornographic message just after she got off his bus in Sheffield.

He followed up with disturbing texts containing sexual remarks.

The driver sent an indecent image to another 13-year-old while driving the number 52 in May 2011, as well as a text saying: “If you’re under 16 I will pay you.”

He was sacked when the offences came to light.

One of the girls was left so traumatised she was suicidal and too scared to leave the house.

Marriott - who had been in the Navy for 18 years - used to live on Richmond Park Crescent, Sheffield, but was living in a caravan in Chesterfield before he was jailed.

At the Appeal Court, Marriott’s lawyers argued his prison term was excessive and the original judge - Simon Lawler QC - was not justified in stepping outside sentencing guidelines.

Mr Justice Sweeney said Judge Lawler’s approach ‘amounted to frank disobedience’.

He told Marriott to attend an offenders’ treatment programme and reduced his indefinite sexual offences prevention order to five years.

Marriott had been banned from unsupervised contact with girls under 16, but Mr Justice Sweeney eased the restrictions to enable him to get a job.