Boston

‘Sex pest’ who touched teen girls escapes jail

A sex pest who touched schoolgirls on a train escaped jail after a hearing at Lincoln Crown Court on Friday.

James Sheridan-Shinn, who admitted a string of offences against schoolgirls, touched the knees and thighs of the teenagers as he travelled by train from Boston to Nottingham where he attended college.

Mark Watson, prosecuting, told Lincoln Crown Court that Sheridan-Shinn committed repeated offences against six different girls.

He said: “The offences are all touching of these girls on the train. It was touching of the knee and the thigh and in one case squeezing the bottom of one of the complainants.

“The defendant travelled on the train. His normal route would be between Boston and Nottingham. He would get off at Grantham and then get back on the train.”

Mr Watson said that, as well as touching girls while walking past them, there was an occasion when Sheridan-Shinn sat down on a stairway the girls needed to use to get to their platform.

Sheridan-Shinn then touched girls as they walked past him.

Complaints were made to British Transport Police in May 2017.

Sheridan-Shinn was identified and officers carried out a surveillance operation on Grantham Station which resulted in his arrest.

When he was questioned by officers he denied the incidents were sexually motivated.

Mr Watson said: “He said he sat on the stairs to get a better WiFi signal on his phone. He said he put his hands out to stop himself being struck by the bags the girls were carrying.”

James Sheridan-Shinn, 23, formerly of Pen Street, Boston, but now living in Preston, Lancashire, pleaded guilty to a total of 13 charges of sexual assault on dates between April 1 and May 5 2017.

He appeared in the dock with a intermediary alongside him to assist him in understanding the hearing.

He was given a three year community order with a condition that he attend a sex offender treatment programme.

Sheridan-Shinn was also ordered to complete a rehabilitation activity requirement of up to 20 days. He was placed on the sex offenders’ register for five years and was given a five year sexual harm prevention order.

Judge Simon Hirst warned Sheridan-Shinn that he will be brought back to court and jailed if he failed to comply with the terms of the community order.

Giles Bedloe, in mitigation, said that Sheridan-Shinn has been diagnosed as autism spectrum disorder and functions at the level of a 13-year-old.

He said: “Mr Sheridan-Shinn has been deeply embarrassed by the coming to light of his conduct and is struggling to come to terms with the fact that what he was doing was motivated by sexual interest.”

Mr Bedloe said that Sheridan-Shinn also suffers other health problems including congenital heart disease and recently spent a week in hospital after suffering a fit. He now uses a wheelchair.