Drunken passenger told to pay compensation to boy, 14, he groped on a train
- Credit: British Transport Police
A drunken train passenger has been ordered to pay compensation to a 14-year-old boy who he groped on a train after a day at the seaside.
Anthony West terrified a group of children on the Exmouth to Exeter train by telling them he was the nephew of mass murderer Fred West before he started trying to hug or kiss them.
The boy was so scared that he slid under the table to get away.
CCTV on the train showed him laughing as he mingled with the group of teenagers, who were also on their way back from the beach on a sunny Sunday in July 2020.
Police released still images of the incident which led to West, who was a youth rugby coach, handing himself in after they were seen on local news websites by his family.
West, aged 53, of Okehampton St, Exeter, was found guilty of sexually assaulting the boy at a trial at Exeter Crown Court in March in which he was cleared of sexual assaults on a 14-year-old girl and another boy aged 15.
He was ordered to do 150 hours unpaid community work and pay £500 compensation and £500 costs by Judge Neil Davey, QC, at Exeter Crown Court.
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He was ordered to sign on the sex offenders’ register for five years and will be barred from working with children by the Declaration and Barring Service. This is likely to end his work as a rugby coach.
The judge told him: “Despite your protestations, I am sure that you were drunk; and considerably so. You engaged in banter and singing with the teenagers but because you were drunk, you became overfamiliar with them.
“You were touching them and hugging them in ways they did not want and it came to a time when you sat next to the boy and held him with your left arm while using the fingers of your right hand to fondle his thigh.
“His victim impact statement showed how he was affected and he crawled under the table to get away from you. The effect of alcohol led you to behave like this.
“I have read the references which speak of you as a decent man who helps others and engages in charitable work. The probation report writer did not believe your offending was not sexually motivated and neither do I.
“I do not regard you as a danger to children. This is more of a case of alcohol being a danger to you.”
During the trial, the jury were shown CCTV of West laughing uproariously as he hugged different teenagers on the 8.50 pm train on July 12, 2020. There was also mobile phone footage.
West told the jury he had no sexual intent and was just engaging in ‘high spirited banter’ while singing Sweet Caroline with the teenagers.
Carpenter and father-of-two West, who has been a youth rugby coach for 22 years, told the jury he had only drunk three cans of lager and it was all high-spirited banter.
He said: “We were all having a laugh. It was a bit of banter. It was happy and jokey. The atmosphere on the train was high spirits. We were singing Sweet Caroline and laughing with them.
“There was no nasty intent I had no sexual intent at all. It was all laughing and joking and mucking about on the train. I did not intend to kiss the boy. It was a fatherly kiss.
“He pulled away and laughed. I didn’t intend to kiss him on the lips or to sexually assault him.”
He said he kissed the girl because her young friends were egging him on saying it was her turn. He said she ‘had been laughing all the way through’.