A Catford man has avoided jail time after sexually assaulting a sleeping woman on board a late-night train in West Wickham.

Ian Harrison, 53, of Jutland Road, was sentenced yesterday (July 30) at Blackfriars Crown Court, after pleading guilty at an earlier hearing.

He was handed a 12-week prison sentence, suspended for 20 months, and a 20-month supervision order.

He has also been placed on the sex offender register for seven years.

The court heard Harrison attacked a 25-year-old woman on April 29 on the 12.13am London Charing Cross to Hayes service.

Detective Constable Andy Parkinson, who led the investigation, said: “The impact this attack had on the victim should not be underestimated.

"Harrison preyed on a young woman, travelling alone in a quiet train carriage, late at night. He waited until she fell asleep before sexually assaulting her.

“The victim woke up during the assault and managed to break free from Harrison and flee the train at West Wickham station. I would like to thank her for having the confidence to come forward and report this crime and for her co-operation throughout our investigation.”

Detectives were able to identify Harrison as the main suspect after a media appeal featuring CCTV images from the train led to a number of calls from the public.