Rapist sexually assaulted five-year-old girl on train just hours after prison release

A convicted rapist sexually assaulted a five-year-old girl on a train just hours after being released from prison, a court has heard.

Darren Rothwell, 42, committed the attack shortly after he left HMP Forest Bank in Salford, Greater Manchester, where he had been serving a sentence for harassment and assault.

He boarded a train at Manchester Victoria on the morning of April 18 and intimidated two women travelling with their young children as he swore aggressively at them while drinking from a bottle of brandy.

Rothwell (pictured) was heard to tell the women to google his alias ‘Darren Noonan’, where they would have found online news coverage of his 2009 conviction for rape, sexual activity with a child and child abduction, said British Transport Police (BTP)

As the train approached Wigan, Rothwell asked the five-year-old daughter of one of the women for a hug.

He then went to pick the child up before he sexually assaulted her in view of her horrified mother, said BTP.

The alarm was raised and Rothwell was quickly identified by officers.

Rothwell, of Scholes, Wigan, was jailed at Bolton Crown Court for 26 months on Friday after he pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to sexual assault.

Detective Constable Ian Grice said: “Rothwell clearly had absolutely no desire to rehabilitate himself after prison but to sexually assault a five-year-old child before he’d even made it home is beyond reprehensible.

“He is clearly an exceptionally dangerous individual and I am relieved, as I’m sure his victim’s family will be, to see him back behind bars.

“I can’t imagine how traumatic this must have been for them and I hope they are now able to begin to put this terrible incident behind them.”

Copyright (c) PA Media Ltd. 2019, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) British Transport Police / PA Wire.

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