A “sinister” pest who harassed a terrified woman on a train to Huddersfield, leaving her in tears, has been told by top judges he cannot complain about his jail term.
Marshall Gwebu sat down next to the passenger and intimidated her, followed her when she got up to leave the train and and told her, ‘I am going to find you’.
The 40-year-old, of Riddings Rise, Deighton, Huddersfield, was jailed for 15 weeks at Leeds Crown Court on April 14 after admitting harrassment.
He challenged his sentence at London’s Criminal Appeal Court, with his lawyers arguing he should have been able to serve his sentence in the community.
But his appeal was dismissed by three of the country’s most senior judges, who said he deserved to go to prison.
The court heard the victim caught the train from Middlesbrough to Huddersfield in September last year and sat on her own in a window seat with her bag on the seat beside her.
When Gwebu, who had been drinking, got on at Leeds, he moved the bag and sat next to the woman. He then leaned close to her and asked her what she was called and where she lived.
She replied and told him she had been visiting family, to which he said: “You are lying, you have been to see your boyfriend.”
He then grabbed her hands and stroked her across the arm before saying: “We should have some fun. It is your fault because you are irresistable and I am stoned.”
Gwebu also told the woman she was ‘lucky’ he hadn’t touched her as much as he would have liked.
She managed to get out of the seat and moved further down the carriage to wait for her stop, but Gwebu followed her and said: “I am going to find you.”
The woman was met on the platform by her husband, by which time she was crying.
Gwebu’s lawyers argued he should either have received a community punishment or a suspended sentence and highlighted a positive report on him from the prison he is in.
The report described him as ‘polite and respectful’.
But, rejecting his appeal bid, Mr Justice Cranston said there were a number of ‘sufficiently sinister’ features of the offence to justify the prison sentence.
Sitting with Lord Justice Pitchford and Mr Justice Walker, he added: “This incident involved an extended period of intimidatory behaviour of some 20 to 25 minutes.
“It was against a woman, sitting by herself, travelling on public transport.
“As the judge said when passing sentence, women are entitled to be protected from this type of behaviour.
“Moreover, he persisted in his behaviour and followed her when she was about to alight from the train.
“We commend Gwebu for the good progress he has made in prison, but we must dismiss the appeal.”
In unrelated investigations, police would like to speak to the people pictured in the image gallery below. The people pictured in the images may be witnesses as well as suspects. If you recognise anyone, contact police on 101 quoting the reference number on the image caption.