February 2019

Man sexually assaulted teen girl on bus after she tried to help him

A kind Devon teenager who tried to help a man catch a bus back to London was left in tears after he sexually assaulted her.

Dan Wachira, 34, of Rainham grabbed the 18-year-old and called her a ‘cutie’ before trapping her on the bus, stroking her thigh and fondling her bottom.

The Kenyan-born asylum seeker took advantage of the girl’s kindness in order to sexually harass and try to wear down her defences, Exeter Crown Court was told.

He told her: “No means yes to me.”

The victim said the incident had been so distressing that she had lost her confidence, given up her job and moved away from the area.

Sentencing Wachira, from Essex, to a year in prison Judge David Evans said: “You must have realised she was a polite young woman with a bus journey ahead of her which she would have to take alone.

“You deliberately embarked on a prolonged course of sexual harassing behaviour involving sexual assault.”

Ms Katie Churcher, prosecuting, said the incident started at Exeter Bus Station at 1.30pm. The victim was waiting for a bus when Wachira started chatting to her, telling her he was trying to get back to London.

She agreed to help him by finding out when his next bus would be. She spoke to the bus station office and told Wachira there was no scheduled bus to the capital and he would have to book a ticket online.

Wachira then started to pester the young woman asking her to come with him to a hotel or stay in Exeter with him.

“He blocked her way and tried to prevent her walking away from him,” said Ms Churcher. When the teen asked for her lighter back he grabbed her by the hand and pulled her towards him.

“He kept asking her to go with him for a drink and she repeatedly said ‘no’,” said the prosecutor.

“He responded by calling her ‘Cutie’ and ‘Beautiful’.”

When the girl’s bus home arrived she got on but was followed upstairs by Wachira. The defendant, a father of two, continued to tell the girl he loved her and begged her to stay with him but she refused.

She told Wachira she had a partner and was going back to her parents but that didn’t stop his advances, the court was told.

His pestering went on for about half an hour. Wachira was filmed on CCTV whispering in the girl’s ear, stroking her face and putting his arms around her shoulder.

She tried to speak artificially loudly so people on the bus might hear her distress but nobody showed an interest.

When she got up to leave Wachira grabbed her bottom before she could get away.

The victim was in court to hear the sentence. She read a statement which said the incident had had a massive impact on her life.

“I was assaulted on public transport in daylight hours,” she said.

“This has been distressing for me. I didn’t leave my house for a week as I was scared to walk around in case he was there or it would happen again.

“I lost all my confidence and moved to another town. I felt moving away and quitting my job was the only option for me.”

Wachira said he came to the UK in 2017 to study but had not been able to afford the fees. He told police that his actions had been misinterpreted and he had done nothing wrong.

He admitted sexual assault.

The defendant has no previous convictions. He was served deportation documents the day after the incident but had lodged an asylum claim.

He said because of the political situation in Kenya he would be killed if sent back.

Judge Evans said his deportation was a matter for the government but it was almost inevitable he would be sent back to Kenya because he had overstayed his visa.

“People are entitled to feel safe while using public transport,” he said.

“This has had a very significant ongoing impact on the victim. In her personal statement she made clear it goes well beyond the very distressing immediate impact on her. She has lost all personal confidence and felt compelled to quit her job in the local area and move away.

“You cannot possibly have misinterpreted the plain message she was giving you. But you continued to show an utter disregard for her wishes and started to touch her sexually.

“You would not take no for an answer and it seems you took advantage of her good nature and comparative youth.”