Already convicted paedophile committed sex act on double decker bus in front of three teenage schoolgirls before sexually assaulting one of them

With thanks to Rob Kennedy for Court quotations.

A man previously convicted of child sex offenses committied a sex act at the top of a double decker bus in front of three schoogirls, assaulting one of them.

Barry Aldcroft started stalking the 15-year-olds at Haymarket bus station, in Newcastle, talking to them before following them onto a bus and sitting near them.

During the journey, they noticed he was looking at them while carrying out a sex act on himself.

When the disgusted teenagers decided to get off the bus early, he then touched one of them on the bottom as she went to retrieve her phone charger.

Now the pervert, who was already subject to a court order for trying to communicate sexually with what he thought was a 14-year-old online, has been jailed.

Newcastle Crown Court the three 15-year-old girls had been shopping in Newcastle and one of their mother’s decided to let them have a bit longer in town and get the bus home together.

They were at the Haymarket bus station in the middle of the afternoon when they were approached by Aldcroft, who asked if they had a lighter and was told they didn’t. His contact with the girls put him in breach of his sexual harm prevention order.

The girls got on a bus which was heading to Blyth and went upstairs and sat at the back. Aldcroft followed them and despite there being plenty of empty seats, sat just in front of them, on the opposite side.

As the bus headed towards Cramlington, one of the girls noticed Aldcroft kept looking at them and she swapped seats with her friend as she felt uncomfortable. Another of the girls noticed him pat the seat next to him as if inviting them to sit there and he beckoned them over with his hand.

Neil Pallister, prosecuting, said that Aldcroft spread his legs and was putting his hand down his pants and touching himself while looking in their direction.

Because of his behaviour, they decided to get off the bus and when one of them realised she’d left her phone charger behind and went to get it, Aldcroft poked her bottom. Mr Pallister said that the girl turned to look at him and Aldcroft smiled at her while he was exposing himself.

When the girls got downstairs on the bus they were in a “distressed state” and told the driver what had happened. They said he was still on the bus and the driver rang 999.

Aldcroft, 38, formerly of Cowpen Road, Blyth, tried to claim he had just been “adjusting himself”. After getting off the bus, he punched a man in the face because he didn’t like the way he was looking at him, having learned what he had been accused of doing.

In victim impact statements, the girls said it affected their education and independence. One them said she was left struggling to cope and had problems using buses as a result of what happened. Her friend added that she struggled to sleep for weeks afterwards and had nightmares about it in which she would see the pervert. She added that she still doesn’t feel safe on buses.

The girl who was sexually assaulted said she was an “innocent child” when she fell victim to Aldcroft, adding that as a result of what happened: “I couldn’t leave the house without someone with me. It took away my independence. I’ve had panic attacks and anxiety.” She added in words directed at Aldcroft: “I hope you are never able to do this to another person.”

Her mum added: “You took away a huge part of her life before it had even begun. She should have been safe on public transport.”

Aldcroft was convicted by a jury of exposure, sexual assault, sexual activity in the presence of a child and breaching a sexual harm prevention order and he admitted assault by punching the man.

He was jailed for four years and ordered to sign the sex offenders register for life and will be subject to a lifelong sexual harm prevention order and is barred from working with children or vulnerable adults.

Judge Penny Moreland told him: “What you have done has impacted the lives of those girls in a way they may never recover from.”

The court heard Aldcroft has 11 previous convictions. In May 2021 he was given a community order for attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child – a decoy profile purporting to be a 14-year-old girl to whom he sent a picture of his penis. He got another community order in 2022 for breaching that sexual harm prevention order by speaking to his neighbour’s children.

Penny Hall, defending, said Aldcroft suffered a brain injury when he was younger and that makes him vulnerable.