March 2019

Woman given £400 by judge for her quick thinking that helped jail paedophile who sexually assaulted 14-year-old schoolgirl

A quick-thinking woman who helped snare a sex offender preying on a schoolgirl has been awarded £400 by a judge.

Lee Sullivan, 44, was today jailed for a year for sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl at a bus stop in Harpurhey.

Sullivan had been seen “hanging around” the stop, and others close by on Fernclough Road in Harpurhey, all used by children catching the bus to school, on several occasions beforehand, the court was told.

Local Sandra Kenyon twice notified the police about the suspicious behaviour in the week before the assault in January this year, Mark Monaghan, prosecuting said.

On one occasion she followed him and saw him go into a nearby shop to top-up a pre-paid gas meter, details of which she gave to police.

Then on the day in question she filmed  him walking away on her mobile phone having previously seen him stood with his hand down his trousers.

And these were both crucial pieces of evidence which helped officers pinpoint Sullivan as the perpetrator when the 14-year-old girl was attacked.

Sullivan approached the girl, who was in her school uniform, as she was on her mobile phone, put his hand up her skit, and squeezed her bottom, before running off.

The police were alerted and using the woman’s information, which included a detailed time he had been into the shop, they used CCTV and found the transaction to trace him to the house he shares with his mother through his gas account.

He was arrested two days after the incident, on January 26.

Sullivan, from Harpurhey, who has no previous convictions, pleaded guilty to one count of sexual assault at an earlier hearing.

Judge Alan Conrad QC said of Ms Kenyon: “Her public spirited actions led to this offender being brought to justice.

“Her actions should be commended.

“And I feel it is only right and appropriate that I award a sum out of public funds as I am permitted to do.

“I award her £400 and please pass my comments on to her.”

Sullivan, who has been in prison on remand since January, was remorseful and had not sought to deny or minimise his behaviour in any way, his barrister John Harrison QC told the court.

“His time so far in custody has been a real shock, as it should be, and has had a real deterrent effect on him” he added.

Passing sentence Judge Conrad said: “This was a serious offence of sexual assault.

“There was a significant degree of planning as you had been seen hanging around the bus stop, used by schoolchildren, on this and other occasions.

“In fact a member of the public was so concerned that she filmed you on the day in question.

“This is a case where you have shown an unhealthy interest in young girls and its too serious for any community order or for any sentence to be suspended.”