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Jail for registered sex offender who gripped passenger by the neck

Mark Anthony Williams - 15.03.1968 BTP.jpg

Mark Anthony Williams

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A petrified passenger was subjected to boasts of extreme sexual violence by a man who then put both his hands round her neck in a choking motion.

Moments before, Mark Anthony Williams was arguing with another man on board the train and threatened to kill him.

The sinister events took place on Thursday, 5 October. After boarding the train at Birmingham New Street, the victim – a 33-year-old woman from Bristol - noticed Williams was involved in a heated and animated argument so she found a seat at the other end of the carriage.

However, minutes later, Williams – a registered sex offender - left his seat and came to sit next to her. After some idle chit chat, the conversation took a dark turn when he told her she had beautiful eyes and a beautiful neck. Already uncomfortable, the victim became increasingly scared when he started talking about strangling women, using words that conjured up images of extreme sexual violence.

As the train approached Bristol Parkway, 49-year-old Williams touched her collarbone before putting his hands round her neck. Terrified and panicking, the victim – in a bid to get away from Williams - said she was getting off at Bristol Parkway. As she got up, he asked for her telephone number so he could call her the next day.

A passenger who witnessed part of the incident informed the train manager, who escorted Williams off the train at Bristol where our officers were waiting for him.

He was arrested for breaching his sexual offences notification requirement and sexual assault. Two days later - on Saturday, 7 October – Williams, of Gough Street, Willenhall, Walsall, pleaded guilty at Bristol Magistrates’ Court to sexual assault by touching. He was sentenced to 16 weeks imprisonment and ordered to pay £115 compensation to the victim.

Detective Inspector Jaci Thomas of British Transport Police said: “This was an extremely traumatic experience for the victim. She was terrified by what she had been subjected to and was initially reluctant to pursue any allegations as she was, understandably, scared about going to court and reliving the experience.

“However, after speaking to one of our specially trained officers, DC Amy Perry, about the options available to support her through the process - such as giving evidence in court via a video link so she would not have to be in the same room as her attacker – she felt sufficiently reassured to give an interview and support a prosecution. I have nothing but praise for the bravery she has displayed throughout.

“Williams’ behaviour during the course of this journey was alarming. He clearly presents a serious threat to the public - and women in particular - so I am satisfied the court has chosen to impose a custodial sentence, which reflects the seriousness with which this case has been treated.

“His speedy arrest, charge and sentence sends a strong message that BTP is dedicated to making the railway a safe environment for everyone.

“Thankfully, crimes of this nature are rare on trains; however, when they do occur, victims can be absolutely confident that we will listen to them and that every single incident will be treated seriously, while offenders should be left in no doubt that they will be apprehended and dealt with swiftly.”

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