Sex pest preys on girls on bus

A SEX pest who preyed on young girls on a bus on their way to school has admitted a series of sexual offences.

Martyn Mercer, 25, admitted to engaging in sexual activity with a 13-year-old girl at Bury St Edmunds Magistrates’ Court yesterday.

The girl, who cannot be named, was travelling into Bury St Edmunds on a public bus when she was repeatedly touched by a passenger, the court heard.

Speaking after the hearing, the girl’s father said she had since suffered sleepless nights and headaches.

“It has taken her innocence away,” he said. “It has been heartbreaking for us to see it.”

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Hugh Cauthery, prosecuting, told the court the girl was getting off the bus to school on April 1 when she felt something touch her leg and saw a man’s hand.

Two weeks later, after the school Easter holidays, the same man in the same seat touched her leg up to her knee.

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The next day, on April 20, the man was again waiting for her on the bus with his hand hanging down by the side of his seat.

The girl tried to avoid Mercer’s hand but he moved it so it brushed the back of her calf.

Once an initial allegation had been made, five more girls came forward with similar complaints.

Mercer, of the Street, Herringswell, also admitted sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl on April 21, at the hearing on Friday.

Mr Cauthery said the girl had noticed Mercer sitting awkwardly at the front of the bus, with his palm facing outward.

“As she passed him, she felt something touch her right leg,” he said. “The hand touched her knee and went about 20cm up her leg.”

Mercer admitted the charges and asked for a further five similar matters to be taken into consideration.

Alan Weetman, in mitigation, said there had been no sexual intent or gratification in Mercer’s actions.

“It was more mischievous play than any perverted intentions,” he said. “The whole episode has been devastating for him. He has realised what he had done was wrong.”

Robin Howe, presiding magistrate, adjourned sentence and released Mercer on bail until November 8 for reports to be prepared.

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