Sex offender jailed for train attack

A convicted sex attacker who molested and groped a terrified woman as she travelled alone on a train has been jailed.

Thursday, 7th February 2013, 9:26 am
Aaron Hardy

Aaron Gary Hardy, 29, was sentenced to 21 months in prison at Leeds Crown Court on Tuesday and placed on the Sex Offenders’ Register for ten years.

The court heard how Hardy, of Crown Yard, South Kirkby, propositioned a total stranger on the Doncaster to South Elmsall service on November 18 last year and grabbed her buttock and breast before kissing her on the cheek.

Duncan Ritchie, prosecuting, said the victim, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, was sat in a carriage with several empty seats when Hardy sat next to her and started making small talk.

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He said: “The defendant asked her to come to his house. She said she had a boyfriend and he said ‘you’re too good, you should try to be naughty and come to my house and have sex with me’.”

Mr Ritchie said Hardy continued to“bully” and intimidate” the victim by moving closer to her.

He said: “He then groped and squeezed her buttock. She pulled away from him and he put his hand under the tail of her coat against her hip, then tried to put his hand under her breast.

“He then leaned forward and kissed her cheek. She felt violated and terrified by what happened.

“She was a lone female travelling on public transport. The persistent nature of his behaviour was in her opinion intimidating.”

Hardy got off the train at South Elmsall and walked away but the woman contacted the police and he was arrested the next day.

In interview he admitted sitting next to her but denied there had been any sexual talk or touching.

He said he had talked to her and invited her home for a “cup of coffee” before pecking her on the cheek with her permission.

Rebecca Young, mitigating, told the court Hardy’s behaviour was “clearly inappropriate” and frightening for the complainant.

But she added: “The background is Hardy’s long-term drug addiction and his ongoing current alcohol addiction and his mental health problems.

“It all appears to have been exacerbated by his circumstances and isolated lifestyle.”

Hardy was convicted of a similar sexual offence in May 2011 and breached a two-year community order by committing the offence last year.

At a trial at Wakefield Magistrates’ Court last month he deniedthe offence but was found guilty of sexual assault and committed to crown court for sentence.

Jailing him, Judge Guy Kearl QC, said: “You went and deliberately sat next to the victim and asked her for sex.

“She was alone and vulnerable and you took advantage of that.

“She said she was terrified. This was a persistent attack by you.”