March 13 2014 Latest news:
Friday, December 27, 2013
A “weird” stalker has been found guilty of sexually assaulting a Gospel Oak schoolgirl and repeatedly following her on her way to school.
Tony Coyle, 51, of Ferdinand Street, Chalk Farm, deliberately brushed past the 14-year-old girl outside her school, touching the victim’s breast with his arm and shoulder.
For eight consecutive weekday mornings in September, he watched and followed her in the Gospel Oak area as she walked or waited for a bus to school.
The victim and two of her friends also saw Coyle, who they called “the weird guy”, loitering outside their school three times.
The girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said she is now too frightened to walk anywhere, even to her nearest corner shop, without having someone with her.
She said: “I’m really paranoid. I’m scared someone else is going to do the same thing. I can’t even go to school by myself.”
At Coyle’s trial at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court last week, the victim said she first saw Coyle staring at her as she waited for the bus in Gospel Oak at around 8.20am on September 16.
She then saw him watching her again the following two mornings.
As she arrived at school on September 19, he was standing opposite the school gates watching her.
He first followed the teenager the next day, walking behind her for a short period of time in Gordon House Road.
On September 24 he waited outside her house before stalking her all the way to school, having followed her the previous day as well.
He did not make contact with the girl until September 25, when he stared at her as she arrived at school before crossing a busy road to walk up to her, touching her breast as he went past.
The victim, who burst into tears, immediately reported the incident to the school and to police.
Coyle was caught the next day after the girl’s sister spotted a man walking near the school who looked exactly as the 14-year-old had described and called police.
The court heard that Coyle had a distinctive appearance as he had always been seen with a plaster on his face, with very pale skin and wearing a black Great Ormond Street Hospital hooded jumper.
Coyle, who has been declared not fit to work, insisted he did not have “any interest in schoolgirls”.
He admitted to being “in the area” on the days in question but said he was not “intentionally stalking anyone”, saying that he likes to go for regular walks all over Camden for no specific purpose.
But he was found guilty of sexual assault on a female and of stalking involving serious alarm or distress.
He was granted bail on the condition that he is not to contact the victim or her friends and is not to enter the NW5 postal area, except to visit his GP with his brother and sister.
Coyle will be sentenced next month.