Man, 73, sexually assaulted woman by kissing her on lips when she helped him buy train ticket

Leslie Worthington, 73, sexually assaulted a woman at a Tyneside Metro station as she tried to help him buy a ticket. (Reach)
Leslie Worthington, 73, sexually assaulted a woman at a Tyneside Metro station as she tried to help him buy a ticket. (Reach)

A pensioner left a woman traumatised after he grabbed her and kissed her as she tried to help him buy a ticket at a Metro station.

Leslie Worthington, 73, grabbed the collar of the woman's jacket and pulled her towards him, kissing her on the lips, Newcastle Crown Court heard.

She pushed him back and told him not to, but has been left traumatised by the incident, which happened at a Metro station in Gateshead last November.

Worthington, of Northam Avenue North, South Shields, who had ten previous convictions including assaults on women, was handed a suspended sentence after pleading guilty to sexual assault.

Kevin Wardlaw, prosecuting, told the court: "He was directly in front of her, standing face to face and he forcefully grabbed her. He took hold of the collar of her jacket in both hands, pulled her towards him and forcibly kissed her on the lips.

"This was a busy public place, a Metro station, where anybody would be entitled to feel safe."

In a victim impact statement, the woman said: "I'm completely devastated this has happened to me.

Newcastle, England. January 4, 2019. People walking on crowded street of Gtrey's St. With the metro underground subway station where people travel to the airport or to the coast.
Newcastle, England. January 4, 2019. People walking on crowded street of Gtrey's St. With the metro underground subway station where people travel to the airport or to the coast.

"I was so shocked and horrified this man thought he could forcibly do that to me without my consent, especially in the middle of a pandemic. I still can't believe it happened.

"Since this incident my life has taken a dramatic turn for the worse. I was on the sick for a long and sustained period of time.

"I was depressed and stressed, which also led to problems in my relationship. I've separated from my partner and was forced to leave my home. I feel this is all as a direct result of the stress and trauma since I was assaulted.

"I've read his name in the press again recently in relation to another assault, which worries me. My life is in ruins and I'm now homeless as a result of this nightmare. This is so unfair, I was an innocent party and I'm suffering as a result of this unwanted sexual assault."

The court heard that Worthington had ten previous convictions, including one for battery in 2014 when he sang to a woman on a bus with her daughter, told her she was beautiful and kissed her on the cheek.

In June this year, while on bail for the assault at the Metro station, he made "inappropriate remarks of a sexual nature" to a 16-year-old girl walking with her friends, then punched her when she and her friends accused him of being "noncey".

For the latest assault, he was sentenced to three months suspended for 18 months with rehabilitation and ordered to pay £400 compensation. He will also have to sign the sex offenders register for seven years.

Recorder James Wood KC told him: "She went to help you. You forcibly took hold of her by the lapels and pulled her upwards and directly towards you and kissed her firmly on the lips before letting go of her.

"She was utterly outraged and that behaviour was utterly disgusting and totally disgraceful. It's had an appalling impact on her and you are no stranger to behaving like this."

Gavin Doig, defending, said while he did not want to "minimise the offence", it was a "brief" and fell to the "bottom end of seriousness" in terms of sexual offending.

"All the women in Northumbria will be protected better by his thinking deficits being addressed than him being taken off the streets for a few weeks with no protection in place," he said.