A trainspotting pervert has once again been given a jail sentence for an indecent assault he carried out against a young boy in the 1980s.
Steven Gustafson began chatting to a young teenage boy about trains at Newcastle Central Station in the early 1980s before he asked him to take a trip underneath the arches of the King Edward VII bridge. The victim, who was under the age of 15 at the time, was then indecently assaulted.
The vile offence only recently came to light when the now-adult victim read that Gustafson had been jailed in 2021 for a very similar offence dating back to the same time. He then reported the assault to police.
In 2021, Gustafson was jailed for four and a half years for carrying out similar sexual offences which were also committed in the 1980s. He was in his mid-20s at the time when he befriended two boys who shared an interest in trainspotting and then sexually abused them after taking them to isolated places.
Gustafson, who has been serving his prison term at HMP Northumberland, was due for release this summer, but was hauled back in front of a judge at Newcastle Crown Court on Thursday to be sentenced for the indecent assault which had recently come to light. The 65-year-old pleaded guilty to the single offence in March this year.
The court heard that the victim was a young teenage boy in the early 1980s and had first met Gustafson at Sunderland Train Station and began chatting about trains. Gustafson then offered to take the boy and his friend to Sunderland’s South Docks, but he declined and instead went home.
But months after their first meeting, the boy ran into Gustafson again, this time at Newcastle Central Station.
Jane Waugh, prosecuting, said: “The victim recognised the defendant and again began chatting about trains. The defendant suggested they go over the to the King Edward VII bridge and look under the railway arches.”
As the boy engaged into further conversation about trains, he realised Gustafson was “not really interested” in them. It wasn’t long before Gustafson indecently assaulted the boy after putting his arms around his shoulders and asking sexual questions.
After pushing away Gustafson, the boy fled on a train and kept the assault a secret until years later when he confided to a former partner. However, the incident had a profound impact on the victim, who would regularly search for Gustafson on the internet. It was during one search that he read the defendant had been jailed for sexual offences.
Reading of his prison sentence, the victim then bravely reported what happened to him to police.
The court heard that Gustafson had nine previous convictions for 21 offences, all of which were offences committed against boys under the age of 16. All of his sexual offending took place behind the backdrop of a “railway setting”, the court heard.
Peter Schofield, defending, said Gustafson had not committed any offences since 1998 and had successfully completed a sex offender treatment programme in the 1990s.
He said: “He has worked hard to change his life and plays a useful part in the community and his church. He is at a low risk of re-offending and has a firm plan to move away from this area. He is unlikely to re-offend again and has made efforts to stay offence free. There is a positive side to his general behaviour.”
Sentencing Gustafson, Recorder Benjamin Nolan KC handed him a further 12-month prison sentence. He remains on the sex offender’s register for life.
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