Sunderland man, 76, performed sex act while travelling on packed train

A 76-year-old man who performed a sex act on himself on a packed train has been sentenced after a British Transport Police investigation.

David Colin Gilbert, of Westheath Avenue, Sunderland, pleaded guilty to outraging public decency at an earlier hearing and received a two-year community order and was made the subject of a 10-year Sexual Harm Prevention Order at Newcastle Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, 31 May.

He was also ordered to pay costs of £85, a victim surcharge of £95 and compensation of £100.

The court heard how on Saturday, December 4, 2021, a woman travelling on the same train spotted Gilbert's reflection in the train window.

David Colin Gilbert, of Westheath Avenue, Sunderland, pleaded guilty to outraging public decency.

Gilbert was seen to have the front of his trousers open and was attempting to conceal the sex act with a newspaper on his lap while looking at a sleeping female passenger.

A short time later Gilbert was seen to be repeating the sex act while again looking at the female.

This time, the witness alerted the man she was travelling with who turned around in his seat and witnessed the act and told Gilbert to stop immediately.

The couple reported the incident to an off-duty police officer they knew who was in a different carriage on the same train.

She, along with the train manager, confronted Gilbert and told him he would be escorted from the train at Newcastle.

Gilbert was identified to British Transport Police at Newcastle Station and immediately arrested for outraging public decency and indecent exposure as his trouser flies were undone and his genitals exposed.

Investigating officer DS Graham Marshall-Batey said: "Obscene and disgusting behaviour like this is absolutely reprehensible and will not be tolerated.

"It is behaviour of this kind that we are working hard to eradicate from the rail network.

"Everyone has the right to travel on the network and in stations without being subjected to disgusting behaviour like this.

"Unwanted sexual behavior like this can understandably make victims feel frightened, vulnerable and outraged. This was a disturbing incident for all who witnessed it.“We continue to work closely with our rail industry colleagues to make sure your journey remains safe and free from harassment or abuse.

“If you need us on your journey, please text us on 61016 or calling 0800 40 50 40. In an emergency always call 999.”