Sunderland pervert who committed sex act on Metro said he had hands down his pants due to the 'poor state of his fingernails'

A pervert who carried out a sex act on a Metro told a court ‘he always had his hands down his pants and in his pockets due to the poor state of his fingernails’.

Tuesday, 16th March 2021, 11:24 am

John Muir, who had his hands down his jogging bottoms at Park Lane Metro station in Sunderland, was seen by a passenger "touching, groping and fondling himself while he stared at her" after he got on the train.

Newcastle Crown Court heard months later, Muir was on dating app Skout and sent messages to a 14-year-old girl's profile, followed by explicit pictures and sexual videos on WhatsApp.

The court heard Dark Justice had set up the fake girl's profile and alerted the police.

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John Muir was caught on CCTV with his hands down his trousers at Park Lane Metro in Sunderland.
John Muir was caught on CCTV with his hands down his trousers at Park Lane Metro in Sunderland.

Prosecutor David Lamb told the court the first offence happened at Park Lane Metro interchange, in Sunderland, in January 2019, shortly before 9.45pm.

Mr Lamb said: "CCTV shows the defendant walking around with his hands down his jogging bottoms at the front or, at one stage, in the pockets.

"He was intentionally looking towards the rear of a female member of the public."

The court heard Muir then got on a train for South Hylton.

"On board that train, a lady witnessed the defendant touching, groping and fondling himself while he stared at her," Mr Lamb said.

"She said the incident made her feel terrified, shaken and anxious."

Muir got off the train at Sunderland University and he was seen on CCTV with his hands down his joggers again.

He was identified from the footage by a police officer who knew him but was not interviewed about it until August 2019.

Muir denied the offence, saying he always had his hands down his pants and in his pockets due to the poor state of his fingernails.

He was convicted of outraging public decency following a trial in his absence at magistrates’ court.

Then on July 31, 2019, he committed the offences of attempting to cause a child to watch a sexual act and attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child.

He sent a message to a profile of what appeared to be an 18-year-old girl telling her she was beautiful.

Mr Lamb said: "From the outset, she made it clear she was 14 and she had to sign up to the app with a fake age.

"She told him she had autism and found it hard to make friends at school, which is why she signed up to the app.

"He made no attempt to query the comments and simply replied 'oh right babe, what do you think of this', before sending her an explicit image.

"When she reminded him of her age, he continued to send further sexual images."

After the conversation moved to WhatsApp, he sent two videos of himself carrying out a sex act and he attempted to obtain footage of her, although he was told her camera was broken.

The chat was limited to that one day and he then blocked her, the court heard.

Police went to his then-home on Eastbourne Square, Sunderland and arrested him.

Muir initially claimed he knew it was a decoy profile but went on to plead guilty to the offences.

The 30-year-old has now been sentenced to eight months suspended for two years, with sex offender treatment programme.

Muir will be subject to a sexual harm prevention order and sex offender registration for ten years.

Sam Faulks, defending, said Muir acted out of character and happened while he was going through an "unstable period".

Mr Faulks said: "He had lost his partner and the mother of his child, he was suffering from bewilderment and depression and he lost his moral compass and had started taking drink and drugs."

Mr Faulks added that Muir's windows have been smashed, he has had to move and has been attacked twice as a result of the offences.

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