'Rush Hour Prowler' jailed for string of assaults on women and girls

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A sex attacker known as the Rush Hour Prowler who carried out a string of assaults on women and young girls as they travelled to or from work and school has been jailed for six years.

Kevin Bond, a former nightclub owner and operations manager at South Bank University, targeted victims across south-east London, grabbing girls as young as eight before fleeing on foot in what the judge described as a "shocking, violating, frightening, distressing" campaign of attacks.

Bond, 52, of Chislehurst, Bromley, usually targeted lone women or young girls in pairs, once following an 11-year-old girl into a lift to attack her.

The married father of two's offending was so prolific that police conducted a campaign across the boroughs of Southwark, Bexley, Lewisham and Bromley with schools and parents to make sure young girls travelled in groups and, where possible, were accompanied by an adult.

Bond first struck on October 6 2016 and was not tracked down until November last year following a release of CCTV images in a public appeal for information.

He admitted 11 counts of sexual assault and three counts of sexual assault of a child under 13 after his DNA was found on the crotch of a victim's jeans and when multiple other victims picked him out of identity parades.

At a sentencing hearing at Woolwich Crown Court on Monday, prosecutor Ben Lloyd said: "The defendant's typical offending involved following unsuspecting women and girls in public places, often on their way to and from work during typical commuting hours.

"Having followed them along the street or into buildings, he would surprise them, grab them on their private parts and then run off.

"Needless to say the victims were left shocked and extremely upset by what had happened - one of the victims was just eight years old."

The court heard that on the morning of October 5 last year, Bond attacked three people - a 13-year-old girl and two adults - in the space of less than an hour around Kidbrooke, Greenwich.

The eight-year-old was attacked on November 13 last year after she became separated from her friends on her journey to school.

In personal statements, several of Bond's victims said they were now afraid to venture out alone and were very nervous of lone men, with one girl saying she now actively avoids town centres because she is too anxious.

John Blanford, for Bond, said his client's life had started to fall apart following the suicide of his mother in 2016 and after he bought a nightclub which led him to the brink of bankruptcy.

The court heard that his marriage broke down and he started abusing cocaine and ecstasy and watching pornography before he began his campaign of assaults.

Jailing him for six years, Judge Nicholas Heathcote Williams QC said: "From October 2016 you started assaulting young girls and young women - waiting until they were alone or became detached from the group they were with.

"Or you attacked them when they were isolated - in parks, in stairwells and in a lift - then you sexually assaulted them by grabbing their crotch area or the breast area."

He continued: "What you did was deeply shocking, violating, frightening, distressing and disturbing for your victims.

"It was the cause of understandable widespread anxiety among parents and children, schools and community groups - these were deplorable offences."

He added: "These offences involved a significant degree of planning - choosing likely areas, identifying victims and waiting for your opportunity to strike."

Bond was also ordered to sign on to the sex offenders register for life and barred from living with or having unsupervised contact with girls under the age of 18 unless with the knowledge and consent of social services and the child's parent or guardian.

The defendant appeared in the dock in a white shirt and dark tie and did not react as his sentence was read out.

Speaking outside court, Detective Superintendent Andy Furphy described Bond's attacks as "the actions of a predator" and described how he and his team combed through hundreds of hours of CCTV footage to try to identify the attacker.

He praised the victims, saying: "This was a long, protracted investigation - these victims were often very young girls and young women going to school or work and then Kevin Bond attacked them in broad daylight."

Mr Furphy said Bond would not have been caught "without the victims' testimony and going through all the processes of statements and identity parades and reliving it every time".

He urged anyone who believes they may have been one of Bond's victims to get in touch with police or to call Crimestoppers, emphasising that specially trained officers were in place to help potential victims through the trauma.