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John Edward Kilgannon



A public transport pervert who groped two teenage bus passengers “for his own sexual pleasure” has dodged jail.

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On three separate occasions, John Edward Kilgannon sat behind his victims and reached through the gap between the seats in front of him.

He then “stroked” the girls on their sides for periods lasting up to 20 minutes.

The separate assaults on two victims, both 17-years-old, were committed between October and November last year on the Arriva bus service from Middlesbrough to Peterlee.

Teesside Magistrates’ Court heard on Friday that the assaults continued only because the first victim was initially “too frightened to say anything”.

But after one of the victims made a complaint to police, CCTV evidence led to Kilgannon’s address at Evenwood Close, Hardwick, Stockton, where the 66-year-old was arrested.

Prosecutor Paul Power said that, during a police interview on November 18, Kilgannon said he had been drinking on each occasion and admitted that he had stroked his victims “for his sexual pleasure”.

In a victim impact statement, one of the victims said the assault had a “huge impact from a confidence point of view in terms of public transport” and added that since the incident, she “felt uncomfortable” when men looked at her,

The second victim said she had missed a number of days at college and was “nervous around older men” following the attack and was now “always careful while on public transport”.

Kilgannon pleaded guilty to three counts of sexual assault in March.

Mitigating, Liz McGowan said that her client had pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity and had been a man of previous good character,

She said: “He tells me that drink is something that has lessoned his inhibitions while on the bus.

“He’s not saying it’s solely the drink’s fault. He’s saying he did this for his own sexual pleasure.

“He is remorseful - he says that. He has not repeated his behaviour.

“For some unknown reason he was bailed by police from November 26 until March 7 - almost four months - he’s had this on his mind for all that time.”

Mrs McGowan said Kilgannon was “very willing” to participate in a sexual offenders programme adding that he “thinks he may have a problem”.

Sentencing Kilgannon, chairman of the bench Paul Harrison said he took such matters “very seriously” - and would follow recommendations set out by the probation service.

Kilgannon was given a two-year community order with a rehabilitation requirement and was ordered to participate in a sexual offenders programme.

Kilgannon is now required to inform police of his name and address and any changes to his personal details.

He was also ordered to pay each victim £200 in compensation as well as £85 court costs and £60 in charges.