An out-of-work building site labourer, who found himself “cycling round London not knowing what he was going to do,” has been handed a suspended prison sentence and an indefinite ban from cycling for groping women’s bottoms as he cycled around the streets of Camden and Islington.
The London Evening Standard reports that 23-year-old Stephen Jeffryes came up behind his victims as they walked along the pavement and grabbed them from behind before cycling off.
He was found to have carried out 13 “outrageous” sexual assaults between 7.30am on March 30 and around 1pm the next day.
Blackfriars crown court heard how he told a mother with a two-year-old child that she had a “nice arse” after groping her, asked a 14-year-old if he could touch her bottom again after another attack, and grabbed the bottoms of three university students within the space of 15 minutes as they walked to class.
Jeffryes was arrested thanks to distinctive cartoon stickers on his cycle helmet. He pleaded guilty to 12 charges of sexual assault and asked for two further attacks to be taken into consideration.
He was sentenced him to 16 months in prison suspended for two years and the judge said he would have been jailed had he not already spent three months in custody following his arrest.
While courts sometimes seem reluctant to hand out swingeing driving bans, Jeffryes was banned from riding a bike indefinitely and also ordered to attend 50 days of rehabilitation to try to tackle his psychological issues.
Judge Peter Clarke QC said: “I find the offences, particularly the attacks on the 14-year-old girls, quite outrageous. You thought you were having fun and you had the temerity to say to a woman with a two-year-old daughter ‘nice arse’.”
He told him: “I accept it may be you didn’t realise but do now just how devastating an assault like that is.
“It means these women, as young as 14, will be worried about walking down the street and worried about a man such as you coming up behind them and assaulting them. It gets into your soul and that’s the damage you have done.”