The man who dragged two teenage girls into a public bathroom and groped another on a train has been sentenced for the “frightening” crime.
The man who dragged two teenage girls into a public bathroom and groped another on a train has been sentenced for the “frightening” crime.

Man punished for sex assault rampage on train travellers

The man behind a terrifying string of intimidation and sexual touching incidents across Sydney's train network will spend three months behind bars.

Benjamin Halsey, 26, appeared in Hornsby Local Court today to be sentenced for the frightening rampage that involved him groping one teenager on a train, intimidating and stalking a 21-year-old woman on a different train and grabbing and attempting to drag two teenage girls, in separate incidents, into a public toilet stall at a station in northern Sydney.

Halsey took less than two hours to carry out the four incidents on March 1, targeting three 17-year-old girls and a 21-year-old woman.

In sentencing Halsey to 12 months in prison today, with a non-parole period of three months, Magistrate Louise McManus said Halsey could've faced more than a year in prison.

However, his early guilty plea, his young age and a psychological report tendered to the court that detailed his depression and schizophrenia meant Halsey received a smaller sentence.

Benjamin Halsey was sentenced today. Picture: Facebook
Benjamin Halsey was sentenced today. Picture: Facebook

RELATED: Man's terrifying rampage across Sydney train network

Halsey was also sentenced for a 2018 break and enter offence, one that carried a maximum penalty of 14 years in jail, resisting arrest after attacking the teenage girls and being found with stolen goods.

Halsey was given an aggregate sentence, meaning his sentences for each separate offence were rolled into one.

Sentencing Halsey to three months in jail, Magistrate McManus lashed the 26-year-old for his predatory behaviour.

"These are all really young women, all just going about their normal days and really they would've been incredibly threatened and frightened by your actions," she said.

In the second incident, where Halsey admitted to staring at and repeatedly walking past a 21-year-old woman sitting on a train heading north out of Sydney, Magistrate McManus said he "stalked her like a predatory cat".

The woman was able to get away from Halsey, but was forced to step over his legs after he stretched them across the aisle to stop her from leaving her seat.

Halsey, dressed in prison greens with his brown hair slicked to one side, appeared downcast as Magistrate McManus ran through how his behaviour likely made the women feel.

Halsey's morning rampage came to an end when he was arrested around 1pm at Macquarie University Metro Station.

His arrest came less than an hour after he blocked and attempted to drag two teenage girls back into a public toilet stall in two separate incidents.

Both girls managed to break free and run away but were left terrified and shaken by the encounter.

"She would've been very distressed, upset and frightened by your actions," Magistrate McManus said, referring to the first girl Halsey had pushed back into the toilet.

"You have to have some kind of empathy for the victims for your actions because what you're doing is terrifying them … and in their own mind the potential of what you were doing and the potential of what they were facing was in their minds."

Macquarie University Metro Station, where two incidents occurred.
Macquarie University Metro Station, where two incidents occurred.

One girl later told police she believed she would've been sexually assaulted by Halsey if she had not been able to escape.

Halsey has already been in prison for 30 days, since his arrest on March 1, and will be eligible for parole at the start of June.

Magistrate McManus urged Halsey to get help for his mental health problems as soon as he left prison.

A psychological report, tendered to the court, detailed Halsey's problems with illicit drug use and his past diagnoses of depression and schizophrenia.

"You need to look after your mental health and get support when you get out of custody," Magistrate McManus said.

Halsey's largest sentence was in relation to a break and enter from 2018.

Halsey pleaded guilty to entering a man's home in Wollongong in August 2018 and stealing a PlayStation 4, four PlayStation controllers, one Nintendo Switch, two Switch controllers, one PlayStation charger, one yellow backpack and a small amount of cash from the house.

Magistrate McManus sentenced Halsey to 12 months in prison, with a non-parole period of three months, for the break and enter - taking into account his young age at the time and his mental health problems.

Halsey's terrifying morning rampage

In the statement of facts, seen by news.com.au, police allege all four young women did not know Halsey when they became the targets of his unprovoked attacks.

Police said Halsey kicked off his brazen daylight rampage when he was on a train heading south towards Central Station, on the morning of March 1.

Halsey's first victim was a 17-year-old girl who had boarded a train at Tuggerah Station in Sydney's north around 9.20am.

Halsey was also on the train, gradually moving closer and intimidating her until the train pulled into Central Station at 11am.

The teen stalled getting off the train, hoping Halsey would leave first, but he didn't. Instead, he stood nearby and continued staring.

When Halsey motioned for her to get off the train before him, the teenager entered the aisle of the carriage and attempted to put her bag between herself and him.

But as soon as she stepped out into the aisle, Halsey grabbed the teenager on her bottom, with his hand slipping up under her shorts and touching her bare skin.

The teen immediately turned around and told him to "f**k off" but Halsey continued to stare, and then smiled at her.

The teenager then ran from the train, heading towards the busy Railway Square.

As she ran down a set of escalators, the teenager turned around and saw Halsey had followed her and was just a few stairs behind her.

At the bottom of the escalator, the teenager found a Sydney railway staff member and hid behind them as they both watched Halsey walk past.

Halsey stared again before turning around and heading back to the platform to board the same train, which was bound for Newcastle Station.

Police arrived at Central minutes after Halsey fled, with officers taking a statement from the first victim.

 

Halsey kicked off his morning of offending at Central Station. Picture: Toby Zerna
Halsey kicked off his morning of offending at Central Station. Picture: Toby Zerna

 

After boarding the train again after 11am, police said Halsey wasted no time intimidating a second young woman.

The woman - a 21-year-old - was immediately spotted by Halsey and, sitting in his line of sight, was quickly subject to the same staring behaviour the first woman dealt with.

The young woman told police she felt "uneasy" and attempted to slouch in her seat to avoid Halsey staring at her.

At about 11.20am, Halsey walked upstairs to where the woman was sitting and slowly walked past her, staring.

Police said Halsey did this three more times before sitting just three seats away from the young woman, facing her.

Halsey pleaded guilty to continuing to stalk and intimidate the woman before he eventually sat directly across from her and stretched his legs out across the aisle to stop her from leaving.

The 21-year-old grabbed her things and stepped over Halsey's legs to get into the aisle.

Another commuter then told the woman to sit behind them, which she did.

As the train approached Epping Station, the woman gathered her things and pretended to exit the train but instead moved to a different carriage.

Halsey did not follow her.

The woman reported the incident to police at Gosford Railway Station that same morning.

Halsey's reign of terror became more brazen after his two train incidents when he arrived at Macquarie University Metro Station at 12pm.

The third victim - a 17-year-old girl - was heading home from university when she decided to quickly use the station's bathroom.

The toilets at the station are single rooms, rather than gendered toilet blocks, with the locked doors opening directly out into the station.

It was just after 12pm on March 1 that the teenager was leaving one of the single stall toilets when she opened the door and found Halsey standing in the doorway.

Police said Halsey grabbed her waist using both his hands and pushed her back into the private bathroom, squeezing her waist and smiling.

The teenager told police she feared she was about to be sexually assaulted.

The girl pushed Halsey but was unable to get him out of the bathroom, back into the open. She pushed him again, this time shoving him in his chest with both of her arms, and managed to slip his grip.

The teenager power-walked down the escalators and made sure Halsey wasn't following her.

Police were called when she arrived home and officers attended her house later that day to collect the clothes she was wearing as evidence.

Despite Halsey almost being busted three separate times within the past two hours, police said Halsey wasn't done yet.

Less than half an hour later, Halsey committed his final offence.

The final victim was again a 17-year-old girl who was using the bathroom at Macquarie University Metro Station.

Just before 12.30pm, the teenager was in one of the toilets at the station when she heard a knock on the door.

Police said it was Halsey, who had been watching her before she entered the bathroom.

The teenager yelled out "I'm in here" and finished washing her hands.

In eerily similar circumstances, the teenager unlocked the door and found Halsey standing in the doorway.

Police said Halsey put his arm around her waist and started dragging her back into the toilets.

Halsey, who was much stronger than the teenager, dragged her backwards a few steps before she managed to shove his hand off her waist.

She managed to make it just outside the door frame when Halsey grabbed her again. "No, no, no," she said, as Halsey started walking towards her.

The teenager ran away and rounded a corner at the station.

Crying and shaking, the teenager found an emergency button and alerted staff to Halsey.

At around 1pm, a group of police officers rushed to the station following radio calls about Halsey.

Halsey was spotted on a platform and matched the description given by the fourth victim.

Police said Halsey resisted arrest but was able to be restrained after about 15 seconds.

Originally published as Man punished for teen train sex rampage


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