Man convicted of groping a young woman as she slept on cross-country bus in Northumberland
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Barry Gallagher will be made to sign the Sex Offenders’ Register after the incident on the London-bound National Express bus in January, 2020.
The 39-year-old had boarded the bus in Berwick and seated himself near to his unsuspecting victim.
He waited for his moment before approaching his victim when she fell asleep as the bus travelled past Morpeth.
The 23-year-old woman awoke abruptly when she felt her leg being moved and found Gallagher hovering over her.
He told her he was trying to sit next to her and, when she refused, he began rubbing her leg.
The brave woman forced him off her and approached the bus driver who pulled over when safe to do so and rang police.
Gallagher, of Gateshead, was arrested and taken into custody where he officers found he was carrying a knife.
He pleaded guilty to sexual assault and possession of a pointed article and was back before court on Monday, November 9.
At North Tyneside Magistrates Court he was handed a 16 week custodial sentence, suspended for 18 months, and made to sign the Sex Offenders’ Register for seven years.
PC Nicola Raisbeck, who led the investigation for Northumbria Police, has praised the victim and bus staff for bravely standing up to Gallagher.
She said: “This type of behaviour will never be tolerated.
“It’s not uncommon for people travelling on night coaches or any type of night travel to doze off or plan to get some shut eye and it really should go without saying that no one deserves to be touched without their permission.
“She bravely pushed him off and the bus driver wasted no time in making sure police were contacted.
“Gallagher proved himself incapable of being around a person in a vulnerable state – in this incident a young woman asleep – and I hope it brings comfort to his brave victim that Gallagher is now on the Sex Offenders’ Register for a long period of time.
“If he steps out of line again then he faces being put back before the court and is likely to find himself behind bars.”