Man avoids jail after bus station sex attack on teenager

A teenager subjected to a violent sex assault at she waited for her morning bus in Sunderland bit her attacker to get away from him.

Park Lane Interchange
Park Lane Interchange

The girl was sitting on a bench at Park Lane bus station on October 23, when she was attacked by Liam Durnion, Sunderland magistrates heard.

The court heard how the drunk 20-year-old student made a pass at his victim.

But when his advances were rebutted, he grabbed her violently by the arms and kissed her, leaving her with bruises to both biceps.

Prosecutor Jeanette Smith said: “The assault occurred on October 23, last year, when the victim was in Park Lane Interchange waiting for a bus. The defendant came to next to her. He had a box of cider with him.

“He said ‘can I steal a kiss from you?’. She told him she had a boyfriend and he said ‘you’re gorgeous’”

Ms Smith said the victim had believed she was in a safe place at the bus stop.

Reading from her police statement, Ms Smith said: “He used his right hand put around my waist and began to pull me closer. He grabbed me around both my biceps so tight that it hurt me.

“He kissed me on the lips. I could not move him so to break away I bit his shoulder.” The court heard the girl’s bus then arrived and she boarded it.

Durnion, of Wolsey Court, South Shields, was arrested and initially denied the offence. However, he eventually pleaded guilty to sexual assault on a woman aged 16 or over.

The victim said in a statement, read out in court: “I was frightened after this incident. I did not expect something like that to happen to me in a public place such as a bus stop. I have not given anyone permission to kiss me.”

David Forrester, defending, said Durnion has a learning disability and his father for helping explain to him why what he had done was wrong.

“His father was of massive help going through the nature of and what constitutes this offence,” Mr Forrester said. “It has helped him to understand what the reasonable boundaries are. The doctor describes various traits of a personality disorder and he has to modify his behaviour.”

District Judge Roger Elsey said: “I’m not going to send you to prison today, but if you don’t change, that is where you will end up.”

Durnion was handed a three-year community order and was told to take part in a sex offenders’ group work programme and 15 days of specified activity.

Durnion was also told to pay £200 in compensation to his victim and sign on the Sex Offenders’ Register for five years.