A PENSIONER who touched a female bus passenger’s thigh and asked her to come home with him has been convicted of sexual assault.

David Rivers said he would buy the young woman a drink and a portion of fish and chips if she went back to his home, while travelling on an Arriva bus, between Newton Aycliffe, and Ferryhill in County Durham, on November 4.

Anne Mitchell, prosecuting at a trial at Newton Aycliffe Magistrates Court today (Wednesday, May 14), said the 74-year-old had touched the woman’s thigh without permission.

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The tearful victim said Rivers had moved from a seat further back to sit next to her and that his unwanted attention had frightened her.

“He was very drunk,” she said. “He leaned over and said I was a pretty girl.”

She said Rivers, of Bethany Court, Woodham, had leaned over a baggage rack to touch her thigh.

Her account was backed up by another bus passenger and CCTV, which showed him switching seats.

Rivers, who denied both sexual assault and being drunk, said he had moved to be closer to the exit when the bus stopped.

He said if he had touched the woman’s leg, it was an accident caused by being jostled around on the bus.

“I was just having a chat to fill some time,” he said. “I was just being daft and complimenting her. I can’t even afford two portions of fish and chips."

Magistrates found Rivers guilty and adjourned sentence until Tuesday, June 10, for probation reports.

Rivers received unconditional bail.