September 2007

Former rail worker charged for 30-year-old sex crimes

A former Sutton rail worker has been jailed for six months for sex offences against a boy in the 70s

Alan Harries was arrested by British Transport Police (BTP) officers at his home in Llanelli, South Wales, on April 17 after a member of the public informed them of indecent acts carried out on the railways more than 30 years ago.

BTP Detective Inspector Paul Langley said the victim, who was 12 at the time of the offences, reported the acts of indecency last September.

While being interviewed the 67-year-old admitted two offences and was charged with two counts of indecent conduct towards a child.

Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard how the victim had been befriended by Harries at Sutton station while travelling to school and back.

Occasionally Harries would give him a lift home if he missed his train.

The court heard how Harries once asked the victim to go to a store room at the station. The boy was then locked in the room while Harries masturbated in front of him.

On another occasion Harries picked up the victim at his home to take him for a ride on a train. The pair travelled to Portsmouth Harbour and on the return journey Harries ushered the boy into a first class compartment and again masturbated in front of him.

D Insp Langley said the victim had been left disturbed by what he saw but had suppressed the incident for over 30 years.

Officers had tracked Harries using old railway union membership books.

During his police interview Harries told officers he eventually planned to have sex with the boy.

The court heard Harries had a previous conviction for an indecent offence in 1959, but since the offences in 1972 nothing of a similar nature had occurred.

He was sentenced to six months for the two charges on Friday, and ordered to serve half the term in prison. He was also immediately placed on the sex offenders’ register.

D Insp Langley said: “Despite the fact that the allegations occurred so long ago, the detail the victim was able to provide was very precise, which assisted us greatly in our investigation.

Detective Sergeant Paddy Kerr, of the BTP Area Crime Unit, said the case highlights the importance of members of the public reporting crimes to police, no matter how long ago they occurred.

“People need to know the importance of reporting historic crimes and that any such allegations will be taken as seriously as crimes that were reported yesterday, last week or last month.

“We will investigate any such allegations thoroughly, and as this case has shown, 30 years after a crime was committed, justice can be served.”