Belfast Telegraph

Man quizzed over alleged assaults on teen girls on Belfast to Derry bus

By Leona O’Neill

Police in Northern Ireland were called to a bus stop on Saturday to arrest a man after a number of passengers were allegedly assaulted on the Belfast to Derry service.

A man was said to have tried to touch a number of young women on the journey, causing the bus driver to stop several times and eventually call the police to meet the vehicle at the Castledawson roundabout.

As the female bus driver and several passengers attempted to remove the man from the bus, a scuffle broke out and an elderly woman was allegedly assaulted and an elderly man was pushed to the ground.

One passenger, Conor McGinty, who was on board with his pregnant fiancée Aisling, said it was a frightening experience but paid tribute to the female bus driver who he said handled the situation very well.

“We were around 40 minutes into our journey from Belfast on the motorway when a man got up from his seat and started walking down the bus,” he said.

“He appeared to be drunk. He had fallen a few times and we were wondering if he was alright.

“The driver stopped the bus on the motorway and came down to see if he was ok and asked him to sit down.”

Mr McGinty said that man then went to the back of the vehicle where he tried to touch two teenage girls on their arms and legs.

He said: “There was a man at the back of the bus who told him to move.

“He moved to the front of the bus and sat beside another girl and started to touch her as well.

“She had slapped his hand away.”

The bus driver was forced to stop again and when she spoke to the man he began shouting at her.

“He then moved and sat beside another young girl at the front of the bus.

“He kept touching her hair and her leg and she kept telling him to stop.

“The bus driver pulled into Castledawson roundabout and tried to get him off the bus.

“She had told someone to phone the police. The bus driver was telling the man to leave the girl alone and that he had to leave the bus immediately but he was shouting at her.”

 Mr McGinty said when the man was being removed, he lunged at an elderly woman who was queuing at the bus stop.

“At that stage several passengers got off the bus and held him on the ground until the police arrived. Everyone was really shook up. It’s not something you expect to see. The bus driver was absolutely brilliant, she handled a really stressful situation very well and it was all sorted in about 15 minutes.”

Police in Magherafelt say they have arrested a man aged in his 40s on suspicion of assault and indecent assault. A spokesperson said: “The incident was reported to police at around 1.50pm and the man remains in police custody assisting officers with their inquiries.”

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