A pervert who sexually assaulted a 16-year-old girl on a train has walked out of court a free man. 

Ilie Preda, 56, was travelling on a train between Wimbledon and Waterloo at around 4pm on April 24, 2021. 

Three girls, aged between 16 and 18, were also travelling on the train and said they noticed Preda dancing around while calling himself Captain Morgan, prosecutor Gregor McKinley said.  

“The defendant then became bothersome and tried to talk to the three girls. He told one of the girls ‘I love you’ and tried to move forward in an attempt to kiss her,” Mr McKinley said.  

The girls told Preda to back off and then when the train arrived at Wimbledon they tried to get off.  

But Preda then moved towards the 16-year-old girl, tried to hug her and moved his hands towards her thighs in an attempt to lift her skirt.  

He then tried to touch the 18-year-old girl on the bottom.  

The incident was reported to British Transport Police and Preda was arrested when he got off the train in Waterloo. 

This sexual attack took place just week after Preda had left left members of the public terrified when he walked around the Kingsbury area with a plastic imitation gun.  

At around 4pm on April 8, 2021, police received two calls saying they had a real gun pointed at them.  

One woman, who was sitting in a car on Brampton Road, said: “He locked eyes at me, took the gun from his waist area and raised it at me. He then walked towards me while imitating the fire action.”  

Another man said: “I thought he would kill me or someone else. He was pointing the gun at other people who seemed to be ducking out of the way.”  

Whilst the man was on the phone to police Preda walked towards him and pretended to pull the trigger.  

He said that at the time he thought a bullet had got stuck in the barrell of the gun, which was why it was not firing.  

Preda was arrested near the scene and it was only then that police discovered it was not a real gun.  

Preda said he had been at a children’s party and was carrying toy gun for his son in a carrier bag.  

He said he saw a man standing outside his home so he took the plastic gun out the bag and pretended to shoot as a joke.  

Preda said he was walking round making a “tat tat” shooting noise and didn’t believe people would think it was real.  

Preda “poor joke” and said the incident may have stemmed from cultural difference – as he had only moved to the UK from Romania in 2018.  

Think this line is missing words before "poor joke"

Judge Usha Karu, Recorder of Southwark, said: “It’s not a cultural difference to think it’s ok to go around in public pretending to fire an imitation gun. I’m sure that’s not what they do in Romania.” 

News Shopper: Ilie PredaIlie Preda (Image: BTP)

On Tuesday (December 12) Preda appeared in court to be sentenced for sexual assault, attempted sexual assault, possessing an imitation firearm, failing to surrender and a Section 4 public order offence. 

Judge Karu sentenced him to six months in prison, suspended for one year.  

He will be required to register with police for seven years under the Sexual Offences Act 2003.