STATION TO STATION: Patrick Lavelle leaves Ipswich Court.
STATION TO STATION: Patrick Lavelle leaves Ipswich Court. Ross Irby

Grotty groper grabs boy's leg at station

TRAINSPOTTER Patrick Lavelle made sexual comments to a school boy on a train platform, then touched his leg and commented on how hairy it was.

He made further sexual remarks, offered to kiss the victim and invited him home saying that he was lonely.

The 15-year-old reported the man's worrying behaviour to police.

Patrick Henry Lavelle, 69, from North Ipswich, pleaded guilty in the District Court at Ipswich to unlawfully and indecently assaulting the 15-year old on September 20.

Crown prosecutor Cameron Wilkins said Lavelle had relevant criminal history and had been convicted by the District Court in Cairns in 2011 for child pornography offences.

Lavelle was sentenced to a 2 ½ year jail term and served 10 months on the offences.

Mr Wilkins outlined the serious health issues facing Lavelle, including osteoporosis.

Crown facts stated Lavelle told police he had been taking photos at Rosewood station and saw the teen sitting with his bike.

The teen said he was tired and Lavelle replied with sexual innuendo..

Lavelle mentioned the size of the victim's feet and said he deserved a kiss but the youth said no.

He asked the youth to go home, saying he was lonely and that he would likely give him a kiss.

He grabbed the teen's hand to observe the pattern in his palm, then rubbed his leg.

"You have got a very hairy leg. And you've got some whiskers," Lavelle said.

The teen moved away and other people arrived at the platform.

Mr Wilkins said when Lavelle was interviewed three months later about the incident, he told police he did not remember it.

The court heard Lavelle went to the Rosewood station to photograph trains and "made dirty comments to people".

The Crown sought a 12-month jail term.

"It appears to be opportunistic offending rather than pre-meditated," he said.

Defence barrister Scott Neaves said Lavelle's health had worsened.

"He struggles through life and is on significant medication. He has had open heart surgery," Mr Neaves said.

"He thought he wouldn't be alive to be at his sentence but he is."

Judge Dennis Lynch QC told Lavelle a couple of factors had saved him from going to jail.

He said it was the perilous state of Lavelle's health, but more significantly his offending had been deemed a low-level sexual assault.

Judge Lynch said Lavelle's comments had been overtly sexual, and he'd made a comment about the teen's feet size inferring penis size.

Lavelle had also taken the teen's hand suggesting he could tell the penis size by looking at his palm.

Judge Lynch said while his touching was not overtly sexual it was accompanied by sexual comments that made it a sexual assault. He warned Lavelle he had used up his chances. Lavelle was sentenced to six months jail, suspended for three years.