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Bus groper given suspended jail term for attacks on girls
A PERVERT who groped two teenage girls on Oxford buses has avoided a prison sentence.
Christopher Swift, of Matthew’s Way, Wootton, near Abingdon, was found guilty of two sexual assaults in June this year after a two-day trial.
A jury at Oxford Crown Court took two-and-a-half hours to convict the retired 62-year-old after hearing testimony from his two victims, who were groped 10 months apart.
On Thursday Swift was given a nine-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, with 12 months of supervision and a curfew for two months.
He touched a 17-year-old girl on a bus in November 2011 and a 16-year-old girl in September last year while riding from Oxford city centre to Kidlington.
Prosecutor Naomi Perry said during his trial it had emerged that Swift would journey around the area on buses “looking for a suitable target”.
On both occasions the girls, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said he sat next to them and put his hand on their legs before moving it towards their crotches. But Peter Du Feu, defending, said the truth was that, despite his crimes, his client really did enjoy riding on buses “for the sake of it”.
He added that Swift has now given up this habit to ensure there was no chance of any more complaints being made against him, and was thinking of buying a moped.
Mr Du Feu said the outcome of the trial had caused the “absolute ruination” of the defendant’s character and led to him being abused in the street and his car being attacked.
He said: “The dismay and distress for this family flowing from these offences has been incalculable.”
The barrister added that even after the guilty verdict Swift still maintained that he was innocent of the charges, making him unsuitable for a sex offender rehabilitation programme.
He also said that since his conviction Swift had been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, which made it hard for him to communicate with people.
Judge Gordon Risius, the Honorary Recorder of Oxford, said the jury must have found the evidence of the two young women to be “truthful and reliable”.
He added that whoever was responsible for shouting abuse at Swift and slashing his car’s tyres should be “thoroughly ashamed of themselves”.
Turning to the defendant he said: “I have to take into account not just your interests but also those of the two young women you assaulted, as well as those of the wider public who deserve to be protected from such antisocial behaviour.”