A convicted rapist who sexually assaulted a five-year-old girl on his way home from prison has been sentenced.
Darren Rothwell, 42, from Scholes, Wigan, pleaded guilty to sexual assault at Bolton Crown Court on 7 October 2019.
On Friday 8 November 2019, a judge sentenced him to a total of 26 months in prison.
On 18 April 2019, Rothwell was released from HMP Forest Bank, where he had been serving a sentence for harassment and assault.
At around 9am, he made his way to Manchester Victoria and boarded a train to Wigan where he approached two female friends who were travelling with their young children.
After making a series of uncomfortable comments to them, Rothwell – who had previous convictions for rape, sexual activity with a child and child abduction – sexually assualted a girl in front of her horrified mother.
The girl’s mum intervened, and her friend pulled her daughter away, before using BTP’s discreet text service 61016 to report the incident.
Rothwell failed to attend his probation appointment later than afternoon, and was quickly identified by officers.
Detective Constable Ian Grice said:
“Rothwell clearly had absolutely no desire to rehabilitate himself after prison, but to sexually assault a five-year-old child before he’d even made it home is beyond reprehensible.
“He is clearly an exceptionally dangerous individual and I am relieved, as I’m sure his victim’s family will be, to see him back behind bars.
“I can’t imagine how traumatic this must have been for them and I hope they are now able to begin to put this terrible incident behind them.
“We absolutely will not tolerate any unwanted sexual behaviour on the railway and we will make sure offenders like Rothwell are brought before the court to answer to their heinous crimes.”