A man who sexually assaulted a 16-year-old girl who had boarded a train at Margate has been jailed for three years, following a British Transport Police (BTP) investigation.
Matthew Lewis, 55, and of Deerton Street, Sittingbourne, appeared at Folkestone Magistrates’ Court on 17 May where he pleaded guilty to one count of sexual assault, and one count of breaching a Criminal Behaviour Order (CBO), handed to him for previous offences on the railway.
On Thursday 29 September, Lewis was sentenced to 36 months’ imprisonment and ordered to sign the Sex Offenders Register for 10 years at Canterbury Crown Court.
At 9.30pm on Thursday 3 June 2021, the victim and her friend boarded the train at Margate station when they were approached by Lewis.
He began to speak to them and persistently made inappropriate comments towards both girls, asking to take them for a drink and suggesting they run away with him. He continued despite them insisting that they were only 16 years old.
Lewis proceeded to sit down next to the victim and sexually assault her.
Noticing them looking uncomfortable, a man who was sat nearby challenged Lewis’ behaviour and a group of passengers invited the girls to sit with them further down the carriage.
The girls moved away and got off the train at Rainham when they noticed Lewis had also alighted. They pointed him out to two members of rail staff who reported the offence to BTP.
Officers immediately attended and arrested Lewis at the scene.
Appearing drunk, the officers evidenced a breach of his CBO which restricted him from travelling on the network while intoxicated.
BTP Detective Constable Stephen Gadd, said: “Lewis is a dangerous individual who subjected a young girl to extremely unacceptable sexual behaviour, and I’m pleased to see him behind bars.
“His actions left the victim and her friend feeling hugely distressed, and I want to thank them for bravely reporting the incident and supporting our investigation. No one should experience such vile behaviour as they travel.
“If you experience or witness a sexual offence on the railway, I strongly urge you to report it to us by texting 61016 or calling 0800 40 50 40. We will always take you seriously. In an emergency always dial 999.”