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In the Dock: ‘Remorseless sex offender’ who assaulted woman on a Crystal Palace train

A “remorseless” man who sexually assaulted a woman on board a morning rush hour train at Crystal Palace has been jailed.

Fifty-nine-year-old Leon Pawlica, of no fixed address, was found guilty of sexual assault at City of London Magistrates’ Court and sentenced to 20 weeks in prison on Wednesday, September 25.

He was ordered to sign the sex offenders register for seven years, pay £775 in Crown Prosecution Service costs, and handed a seven-year Sexual Harm Prevention Order.

This will prevent him from carrying opened alcohol and sitting next to or opposite a lone female on public transport.

The court heard that on May 22 of this year, shortly after 8.30am, Pawlica – who had drank half a litre of vodka – boarded a train from Victoria to West Croydon, where he approached a woman and tried to engage her in conversation.

Feeling uncomfortable, she moved away, but when the train stopped at Crystal Palace and she got up to leave, Pawlica lifted her skirt and sexually assaulted her, the court was told.

She challenged him and he then followed her off the train and through the station.

The police were called by station staff who arrested Pawlica after a search.

Officers described him as “remorseless”. In his police interview, he first claimed he was too drunk remember anything, before changing tack and blaming the victim, claiming she provoked him as she was sitting with her legs open.

Detective Sergeant Dan Holmes of British Transport Police’s Sexual Offences Unit said: “Thankfully we police a CCTV rich environment and this blatant sexual assault was captured entirely on camera.

“Pawlica knew he had no defence but his attempt to blame the completely innocent victim, who was left understandably distressed by the incident, is utterly reprehensible.

“It’s no surprise the court saw straight through this and I am pleased to see Pawlica handed a custodial sentence.

“I hope it serves as a strong reminder that sexual offenders absolutely won’t be tolerated on the railway.”


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