Dad slams Lothian buses after daughter’s alleged sex assault on way to school

Police have launched an investigation.
Police have launched an investigation.

A father has slammed Lothian buses amid claims they refused to stop a service carrying a man accused of sexually assaulting his daughter on her way to school.

The 14-year-old girl was approached on Wednesday morning by a complete stranger who she claims touched her inappropriately and tried to kiss her.

Police were alerted after the girl arrived at St Augustine’s High School.

And yesterday, while on the same number 21 service, the petrified teenager, this time travelling with her mother for emotional support, was able to point out the same man on the bus.

The 14-year-old schoolgirl’s mum pleaded with the driver to stop his bus for five minutes until the police arrived.

But the family says that after speaking to Lothian’s control team, the driver was instructed to continue his journey – a decision they feel risked the chance of police making an arrest.

Police later on the route managed to stop the bus outside Corstorphine Police Station at 7.45am and the man was subsequently arrested and charged with indecent assault.

Her father told the Evening News: “The whole thing made me feel sick to the stomach. It was so scary and we’re lucky the man did not manage to abduct her.

“I was so annoyed at Lothian for not stopping. Who is to say he wouldn’t get off at the next stop? He could have got away again.”

The family says the 14-year-old girl was on board the number 21 Lothian bus when she first had contact with the man on Wednesday morning when he said “hello”. She was then approached by the man as she left the bus, it is claimed, putting his arm around her saying “are you still my girlfriend?” and attempting to kiss her.

After she rejected his advances he then grabbed the petrified pupil’s hand and walked with her into the grounds of St Augustine’s High School. It was not until he was confronted by a member of teaching staff when he fled.

The school called the police who also alerted her parents to the frightening ordeal.

Her father added: “It wasn’t pleasant. It is something that you always think happens to other people and not you. When you send your child to school you expect them to be safe.

“He managed to do this once and he could easily do it again if he isn’t put in prison.”

Police confirmed a 45-year-old man had been arrested and charged with an indecent assault and is scheduled to appear at Edinburgh Sheriff Court at a later date.

A spokesperson for Lothian buses said: “We can confirm that our driver assisted Police Scotland earlier today and that we have spoken directly with the customer concerned. We will fully support any ongoing police investigation.”