A former Royal Mail worker sexually assaulted a young woman at Temple Meads train station.
Paul Beech, of Thistle Street in Bedminster, kissed the woman’s neck and cheek while she sat on a bench at around 8pm on November 11 last year.
The 61-year-old exposed his penis while urinating near the woman, in her 20s, as well as touching her breast and thigh.
Bristol Magistrates’ Court heard police were called after the victim mouthed “help” to a woman in the station.
Beech pleaded guilty today (July 28) to the sexual assault, which had caused the victim to self-harm and attempt suicide.
Deputy District Judge Kevin Hill handed Beech a three-year community order and said he must pay the woman £500 in compensation.
Prosecutor Andrea Edwards said: “The victim was at Bristol Temple Meads, sitting on the bench outside the front of the station.
“A short time later, Mr Beech walked over, having been in Wetherspoons, drinking with a friend.
“He sat down next to her and started staring at her. He started a conversation.
“The victim tried to move away but he moved towards her and again sat right next to her.”
The woman gave short answers to his questions and tried to show with her body language she did not want to speak to him.
Beech then asked her if she was cold, put his arm over her shoulder and leaned into her chest.
Ms Edwards added: “The victim described how she went rigid and was panicking about what Mr Beech was going to do.
“He placed a single kiss on her neck and one on her cheek, both without consent, and asked personal questions like her name, where she lived and what she did.
“He made comments about her ankle bracelet, saying it was ‘really sexy’.
“Mr Beech put his hand on top of her left thigh and she could feel his fingers squeezing her leg. His hand was resting on her breast.”
Beech then walked a short distance and urinated away from the bench, exposing his penis.
When he returned to the bench, he resumed his position, placing his arm over her shoulder.
She tried to walk away but Beech followed her into the station, towards the boards with the departure times.
Ms Edwards said: “The victim said Mr Beech was standing very close, ear to ear, and asked her if she’d like to get a drink or coffee, or go back to his place.
“She went into WHS Smith and mouthed the word ‘help’ to a witness.”
For news tailored to your local area, powered by In Your Area:
The witness called police and the defendant was arrested.
Beech told police: “I wouldn’t say any crime was committed. I remember sitting down with a girl younger than me. I didn’t touch her any way I shouldn’t have.”
In her statement, the victim said the sexual assault had a “very negative” impact on her mental health.
She had already battled complex PTSD following a previous traumatic incident.
“I struggle badly with flashbacks and being around men,” she said. “I also had a general self-hatred and disgust, feeling it’s all my fault.
“When it happened in November 2019, I was not in a good place and not well. This pushed me over the edge, resulting in a relapse of my mental health issues.”
The victim said she self-harmed and attempted suicide after Beech’s sexual assault, adding: “These things would not have happened if he had not done that.”
She did not leave her accommodation for a week after the incident, and stopped going out at weekends because she was uncomfortable around drunk people.
Miss Browne, mitigating, said her client was homeless at the time of the offence and “suffering quite substantial mental health problems”.
She added: “He suffers from an alcohol problem. He is an alcoholic, it is undoubtable.
Want Bristol news straight to your inbox?
“Mr Beech has significant underlying anxiety linked to his depression. He is an immensely isolated individual and has resorted to alcohol to manage his emotions.
“He is with the AA, and he gets phone calls three times a week. He has had cognitive behavioural therapy in the past.”
The court heard Beech – who has one caution for sexual assault on his record – receives £295 a month from his Royal Mail pension and £95 from Universal Credit.
Deputy District Judge Kevin Hill ordered the defendant to do 30 days of rehab and 200 hours of unpaid work.
He must also complete a sex offender program and pay a £90 victim surcharge and £85 in prosecution costs.
Handing down the sentence, Deputy District Judge Hill said: “When she tried to move away, you certainly should have realised she wanted nothing to do with you. You persisted.
“You were completely wrong. You should have known at the time you were wrong.
“It should have been obvious to you that this young woman in her 20s – you are in your 60s – would have wanted nothing to do with you.
“Probably your lack of insight, your emotional immaturity and alcohol were all factors in what you did, and in not realising it was wrong.”
He accepted Beech’s remorse was “genuine”.