'Depraved' predator who raped sleeping woman on Tube jailed

 (British Transport Police)
(British Transport Police)

A predator who raped a sleeping passenger on a Piccadilly Line train has been jailed for 14 years.

Ryan Johnston, 37, launched his attack after targeting the woman who was returning home from an evening out with friends in February 2020.

He approached the victim, who was not known to him, before sexually assaulting and then raping her in view of other passengers, including an 11-year-old child.

British Transport Police said that at the time of the attack, the victim was drifting in and out of sleep and awoke to find Johnston sexually assaulting her.

Johnston was on Friday sentenced to nine years imprisonment, with a further five on licence, at Inner London Crown Court.

He was also placed on the sex offenders register indefinitely.

Detectives used CCTV footage to pinpoint Johnston's whereabouts that evening.

The rape was reported by a witness on the same day.

British Transport Police and Metropolitan Police officers conducted CCTV enquiries and circulated images of the defendant wearing distinctive clothing, who was later identified as Johnston when a PCSO recognised him.

A French national who witnessed the offence while travelling in the same carriage with his 11-year-old child reported the matter to the police before departing for France.

They later testified at the trial and their evidence helped to rebut Johnston's claim that he knew the complainant and that she had consented.

Johnston was charged with rape, attempted rape and two counts of sexual assault. He was also charged with outraging public decency in relation to another complainant.

He had pleaded not guilty to all five charges.

Cagin Husnu, Senior Crown Prosecutor for CPS West Midlands, said: “This was a vile and terrifying attack on a woman who could not consent to sexual activity and should have been safe travelling home on public transport after a night out with friends.

“It’s clear the defendant posed an enormous risk to the public, and we are pleased that today’s result will see him spend a significant period of time in prison.

“Johnston’s actions have had a profound effect on the victim, who I would like to commend for the resilience she has shown in coming forward and supporting our prosecution.”

Siobhan Blake, Chief Crown Prosecutor and Rape and Serious Sexual Offences lead, said: “Women should be free to enjoy a night out without fear of sexual assault or rape. The actions of depraved men like Johnston, highlight the fact that there can be no let up in our fight against the perpetrators of sexual violence.

“The law on consent is clear: someone consents to sexual activity only if they agree by choice and have the freedom and capacity to make that choice.

“The CPS is committed to ensuring those committing such heinous crimes are prosecuted and we hope today’s result encourages those who may fear justice has evaded them to come forward.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the victim for providing the bedrock of evidence we used to build our case against Johnston.”