Girl stranded on last bus home sexually assaulted by driver who said 'I'll warm you up'

Damien Doyle
-Credit: (Image: Merseyside Police)


A bus driver sexually assaulted a teenager who had fallen asleep on the last service home.

Damien Doyle offered the girl a lift when she was left stranded at the depot late at night with no money. But he instead seized on the opportunity by locking her in his car and exploiting her after remarking: "I bet you get really horny when you're drunk."

A trial at Liverpool Crown Court heard that the 16-year-old victim had taken a bus from Queen Square in Liverpool city centre to St Helens late at night in September 2022, but fell asleep during the journey. She then woke up in the depot to find that there were no more services running that evening.

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Steven Ball, prosecuting, described how she had no cash with her and did not want to call her parents to pick her up as was "worried they would be mad". But she spotted Doyle, of Birchwood Way in Kirkby, outside as he walked back to his car following the end of his shift and approached him.

The 48-year-old offered her a lift home as a result, telling her that he had a daughter of her age and would "hate her to be in that situation". However, once inside the car, the armed forces veteran placed his hand on top of hers and said: "Oh my god.

"You're freezing. I'll warm you up."

Doyle, who had been working as a bus driver for 15 years, went on to ask her if she had a boyfriend, gave her compliments and "intertwined hands" with her. He also told her: "I bet you get really horny when you're drunk, I could take us to the beach right now."

The dad then locked the doors of his vehicle, put his hand on her leg and began stroking her inner thigh while still driving after diverting towards Kirkby. The "terrified" teen however told him there had been a "change of plan" and said her friend would pick her up.

At this, Doyle let her out of the car and she hid in a bush before she was collected. In a statement which was read out to the court on her behalf, the victim said: "I felt so vulnerable in that moment with someone I thought I could trust.

"When he suggested going to the beach, my heart sank. I started to think of the stories of horrible things happening to girls, where they sometimes end up dead.

"The feeling of his hand rubbing the inside of my thigh is a feeling I don't think I'll forget. He has no empathy for how I felt that night, no guilt for his actions and no self awareness for his inappropriate behaviour."

Doyle's previous convictions include entries for assault occasioning actual bodily harm in 1996 and 2008, but none for sexual offences. Carmel Wilde, defending, told the court: "He does deny the offence.

"His partner sits at the back of court and has been here throughout proceedings. She knows a better side to him and stands by him.

"He has not been in trouble for some time. There has been nothing since 2008.

"He served in the armed forces previously with an exemplary record. He has always been in work and is hard working.

"It was opportunistic offending. It was not something he has gone out seeking, looking for young girls.

"The complainant, very eloquently, said she did not want this man to go to prison. She wanted to understand why somebody would do this."

Doyle was found guilty of one count of sexual assault by a jury. He was jailed for two years and told to sign the sex offenders' register for 10 years.

Sentencing, Judge David Swinnerton said: "I accept that what happened was not planned in advance, but you did seek to take the opportunity. That was predatory, in my view.

"There are two reasons that she got in the car with you. One was because you were a bus driver and she trusted you because you were in a public position.

"The other reason was because you told her you had a daughter of her age and would hate your daughter to be in that situation, therefore you would not leave her stranded. She was, not surprisingly, terrified."

Doyle's partner told him "stay strong" from the public gallery as he was led down to the cells.

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