March 2021

Sunderland Metro pervert committed sex act in front of woman then send lewd images to ‘schoolgirl’

A Metro pervert who carried out a sex act on a train was then caught by paedophile hunters sending lewd images to what he thought was a schoolgirl.

John Muir was spotted on CCTV with his hands down his jogging bottoms at a train station in Sunderland.

He then got on a train and a shocked lady saw him “touching, groping and fondling himself while he stared at her”.

Newcastle Crown Court heard that months later, Muir was on dating app Skout when he sent messages to the profile of what he thought was a girl, who told him she was 14 and had autism.

His response was to sent her pictures of his genitals, followed by lewd videos on WhatsApp.

In fact, the profile of Becky18 was being run by Dark Justice, who alerted the police to his activities.

The court heard after his arrest, his windows were smashed and he has been attacked twice.

Now the 30-year-old has been given a suspended prison sentence.

David Lamb, prosecuting, said 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.”

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, as did the woman, and he was seen on CCTV with his hands down his joggers again.

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

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

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

It was on July 31 2019 that 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 of a penis.

“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.

Mr Lamb said member of the public and Dark Justice were there and obscenities were shouted at Muir as he was brought out and footage was recorded on mobile phones.

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

He was sentenced to eight months suspended for two years, must do a sex offender treatment programme and will be subject to a sexual harm prevention order and sex offender registration for ten years.