Man wasn’t jailed only for staring at a woman on the train

6 May 2022
What was claimed

A man was sentenced to 22 weeks in prison after a woman reported him for “continuously staring” at her on a train.

Our verdict

This only tells part of the story. The man in question was jailed under the Public Order Act for “causing intentional harassment, alarm or distress”, after staring at a woman and then also blocking her exit when she tried to leave.

Last month a man was sentenced to 22 weeks in prison after a woman reported him for ‘continuously staring’ at her on a train in Berkshire.

A recent Spectator article, published both online and in print, claims that a man was sentenced to 22 weeks in prison after a woman reported him for “continuously staring” at her on a train. 

This story is included in an article in which the author argues that staring should not be criminalised, refering in part to a Transport for London campaign against intrusive staring, which it describes as sexual harrassment. 

But the article’s description of what happened in the case of the man who was jailed doesn’t tell the whole story.

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What happened?

The Spectator article doesn’t name the man in question. But the details it gives—of a man sentenced in March, to 22 weeks in prison, after an incident on a train in Berkshire—appear to relate to the widely-reported sentencing in March of Dominik Bullock. Bullock, who at the time was 26 and of Spurcroft Road, Thatcham, was found guilty of “causing intentional harassment, alarm or distress”, an offence under the Public Order Act 1986

As a British Transport Police press release states, Bullock sat next to his victim and “began staring at her, very intently”. The victim asked him several times to stop as it was making her uncomfortable and he refused. 

However, the incident then escalated. According to the police press release, the victim “asked Bullock to move as he was blocking her exit, but he refused again and said she would have to climb over him, while spreading his legs”.

It added: “The victim, who was visibly upset, continued to ask Bullock to move out of her way. Bullock remained emotionless and still refused.

“Other passengers in the carriage also started asking Bullock to move while the victim phoned the police, but he continued to refuse.”

Eventually the train manager was alerted and removed Bullock from the train. He was later identified by police from station CCTV.

The Spectator did not respond to a request for comment.

Photo courtesy of Daniel Zacatenco

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