A 23-year-old builder, Stephen Jeffryes, has avoided jail time after sexually assaulting 13 women as they cycled and walked down the streets of Camden and Islington, London.

These attacks were carried out between 7.30am on March 30, 2017, and around 1 pm the next day. Victims have come forward stating that Jeffryes had a smirk on his face as he groped women from behind, often followed by a derogatory comment. One victim was walking with her two-year-old son as she grabbed her and said "nice ass".

The female bike messengers who are victims of street harassment

Another victim, just 14 years old, told the court that Jeffryes had come back to ask her if he could touch her bum again after already grabbing it once. It was heard in court that Jeffryes would often ride his bike around these areas, follow a victim and pedal close enough to assault them before cycling off. What gave him away was a set of distinctive stickers on his bicycle helmet that led to his identification.

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Judge Peter Clarke QC said to Jeffryes in court: "I accept it may be you didn’t realise but do now just how devastating an assault like that is...You thought you were having fun and you had the temerity to say to a woman with a two-year-old daughter ‘nice arse’...It gets into your soul and that’s the damage you have done."

Hoax or not, this does happen more often than we think

Jeffryes was sentenced last week to 16 months in prison, suspended for two years and said he would have been jailed had he not already spent three months in custody after his arrest with the judges justification that; "I’m prepared to take the risk and try to cure rather than prevent," he said. Jeffryes has been banned indefinitely from riding a bicycle and ordered to attend 50 days of rehabilitation to try to tackle his psychological issues."