A “dangerous” sex fiend who attacked a terrified commuter after following her off a bus was snared when a brave eye-witness tailed him on to a tube train.
Police praised the eagle-eyed woman whose quick wits and bravery helped catch tattooed pensioner Joseph Galloway before he could strike again.
Galloway, 68, began following his victim when she walked out of Colliers Wood tube station in south London at around 9.20pm on Wednesday September 5th last year.
When the woman, in her 20s, got on a bus nearby Galloway, who had been hanging around the tube station, also boarded.
The victim, who did not realise she was being followed, got off the bus and began to walk home.
But Galloway got off at the same stop before grabbing her from behind.
The victim fought back and screamed, but Galloway pushed her to the ground and began rummaging through her bag before stealing her purse.
He fled back towards the tube station.
But a woman, who had heard the victim’s screams and saw part of the attack, immediately called police.
She then followed Galloway back to the tube station and boarded the same train.
The woman noted Galloway’s appearance, including his tattoos, which later helped police identify him.
She also noted the station he got off, seeing him exit the underground at Tooting Broadway Station.
As a result, police were able to obtain CCTV footage and track Galloway’s Oyster Card.
The information showed that he frequented the Mortlake area of south west London.
Officers from the Mortlake Safer Neighbourhoods Team gained CCTV images which, on inspection by officers from the Met’s Child Abuse and Sexual Offences Command (CASO), led to the identification of Galloway.
He was arrested four days after the attack, within an hour of CASO officers identifying him.
Galloway, of Mortlake, was sentenced to life in jail, to serve a minimum of five years, after admitting robbery, false imprisonment with intent to commit a sexual offence and possession of a bladed article at Kingston Crown Court.
Detective Inspector Rory Wilkinson, of CASO, said: “I welcome the court’s decision to keep this dangerous man away from society.
“He has proved himself to be a serial offender with no remorse and a capability of committing heinous crimes of this nature again.
“The victim’s bravery throughout the whole identification and court process has been remarkable and reflects her actions of defence during the attack.
“Not only did she avoid serious injury but also stopped Galloway committing a serious sexual offence against her.
“In fighting back she alerted a passer-by who subsequently called and assisted police.”
He added: “I would like to thank this witness, who not only called police but followed the suspect, enabling us to identify him.
“With her assistance we were able to make a swift arrest and hold Galloway accountable for his actions.”
By Stephen Beech