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Repeat offender sentenced after three incidents of indecent behaviour on a train – Devon

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A man has been sentenced after three incidents of outraging public decency on trains between Paignton and Newton Abbot stations between December 2018 and August 2019, following a British Transport Police investigation.

Christopher Schofield, 59, of Tor Vale, Torquay, pleaded guilty to three counts of outraging public decency at Newton Abbot Magistrates’ Court on 25 September.

Schofield was sentenced to a three-year community order, 16-week curfew, 150 hours of community service and a rehabilitation requirement. He has also been issued with a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for two years with the following conditions;

Approaching, touching or making any attempts to communicate with any female unknown to him, save for where it is inadvertent and not reasonably avoidable in the course of lawful daily life whilst travelling on public transport or within the jurisdiction of any railway station in England or Wales.

Entering any main line, London Underground or Docklands Light Railway Station or premises or travelling on any train on these systems whilst intoxicated.

In December 2018, a woman travelling from Paignton to Newton Abbot noticed Schofield, who was sitting opposite her, put his hands down his trousers while looking at her. The same woman spotted Schofield again when travelling from Paignton towards Exeter on 26 July 2019. This time, he was touching his crotch area inappropriately while looking at her for around ten minutes. 

On 7 August 2019, Schofield asked another woman, who was travelling from Paignton to Newton Abbot, if he could sit next to her. After agreeing, the woman felt his leg brush against hers and noticed him touch himself inappropriately while he looked at her breasts.

Schofield was arrested on 6 September after a member of the public identified him, following a BTP media appeal. 

BTP Constable, Gary Archer, said: “These disturbing incidents left these women feeling incredibly distressed and traumatised. 

“We absolutely will not tolerate any unwanted sexual behaviour on the railway and we will make sure offenders like Schofield are brought before the court to answer to their disturbing crimes.

“Thanks to the report from a member of the public, we were able to identify, arrest and charge Schofield - if you see or experience anything that isn’t right, text us discreetly on 61016 or call 0800 40 50 40.”

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