Bus pervert who preyed on schoolgirls spared jail as judge slams police
A PERVERT who preyed on schoolgirls as they caught buses in East Lancashire has been spared jailed after police waited eight months to question him.
Gregory Murphy had already served a prison sentence after admitting he groped teenagers as they travelled on public transport in Blackburn.
But this week the 40-year-old, of Lydia Street, Accrington, returned to court to face a further charge of assaulting a 12-year-old girl as she travelled alone on a bus in Oswaldwistle.
Preston Crown Court heard the youngster reported the incident after reading that her attacker had targeted other youngsters.
But police only questioned Murphy about the allegation earlier this month after he was released from prison.
Judge Heather Lloyd, sentencing, said: “I find it astonishing that this girl made her complaint in July.
“There has been no sense of urgency in this case at all.”
On March 2 last year, the girl was alone on the bus when she noticed Murphy taking photos of her on his mobile phone.
The court heard she texted a friend to tell her she needed help when she got off the bus, but as she went to leave, Murphy followed her and pushed hard up against her.
The girl told the bus driver what had happened but it was only when she read of Murphy’s other offences in May that she reported the incident to police.
The court heard Murphy was jailed in June for sexually assaulting two girls in the space of an hour as they travelled on buses in Blackburn.
At the time of the attacks on May 8 he was serving a suspended sentence for sexually assaulting a girl on a bus in Bolton.
Murphy pleaded guilty to sexual assault, telling officers he did not know how old the girl, who was wearing her school uniform,was.
He said he did not remember much as he had been drinking but accepted he had been caught on CCTV.
Judge Lloyd said: “What you did to this little girl was horrific.
“She has had to have counselling because of what you did to her.
“She shouldn’t have to worry about going on the bus in her school uniform without some pervert like you rubbing up against her for your sexual gratification.
“I don’t know why you did it. The fact you were medicated and in drink is neither here nor there.
“You have form for this. This little girl didn’t know that and neither did the bus driver.
“When you look at what you have done to people over the years in similar circumstances, it is extremely worrying.”
Judge Lloyd said had the sentencing judge last year known there was another case under investigation, she would have adjourned the hearing and sentenced all matters together.
But she said: “Although this case warrants a custodial sentence it would be grossly unfair to send you to prison because of the manner in which it has been dealt with.
“It would be unfair to send you back to prison now you have been released and are subject to supervision.”
She handed Murphy a six month sentence suspended for 12 months and made a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO).
Sex offender jailed after attacking teenage girls as they travelled on buses
A registered sex offender who attacked two teenage girls as they travelled on buses in Blackburn has been jailed.
Preston Crown Court heard pervert Gregory Murphy struck twice within the space of an hour, preying on the two 16-year-old school girls on the number one bus in Blackburn.
One teenager fled to McDonalds, terrified she was going to be raped.
The other watched as Murphy turned his attention from her and her friends to a group of younger teenagers, who he followed off the bus.
At the time of the sex attacks on May 8, Murphy was serving a suspended prison sentence for attacking another teenage girl on a bus in Bolton.
Judge Pamela Badley, sentencing, said: “These young women were catching buses for their own lawful purposes and you interfered with their right to do so without hindrance.
“Why, at the age of 40, you have found it more difficult to control yourself is something I really can’t go into.”
The court heard the first youngster, who can not be named for legal reasons, was travelling alone at around 8pm when Murphy came up behind her and grabbed her bottom, thrusting his groin towards her.
As the teenager stepped off the bus she noticed Murphy leave behind her and ran into McDonalds for her safety.
But by 8.40pm Murphy was at Blackburn bus station where he sat beside a group of teenagers on a bench, despite there being several other benches free in the area, the prosecution said.
One of the teenagers felt uncomfortable that Murphy was sitting so close and got up to check the timetable, in a bid to put some distance between her and the pervert.
But the prosecution said when she sat down again, Murphy sidled up to be close again and touched her on her bottom.
The youngster thought Murphy was trying to steal from her but when he touched her again she and her friends got on the bus only to be followed by Murphy.
The 40-year-old sat close to the 16-year-olds but when a group in their early teens got on the bus, his attention turned to them and he got off the bus at the same stop.
Two days later the youngsters reported the incident to the police and Murphy was arrested, the court heard.
Murphy, of Gladstone Street, Great Harwood, said he could not remember the attacks as he had been drinking and had not taken his medication but when faced with CCTV evidence he did not dispute what was said about him.
He pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual assault and was sent to the higher court to be sentenced.
Judge Badley said: “Pests like you take advantage of people, you know decent people are reluctant to go to the authorities.
“On a previous occasion you have been given the opportunity – undoubtedly because you pleaded guilty and expressed remorse.
“The time has come when this has to be an immediate sentence of custody.
“Young women and all people who are taking public transport should be protected from people like you who are looking at them as sexual victims.”
She jailed Murphy for 12 months and activated three months consecutively of his previous suspended sentence.