Bus driver jailed for nine years over sexual assaults

Spalding outside court (Photograph: Eddie Mitchell)
Spalding outside court (Photograph: Eddie Mitchell)

A Brighton bus driver has been sentenced to nine years in prison after admitting sexual offences against girls and young women, police said.

Mark Spalding, 29, now unemployed, formerly of Brighton, but now of Furze Common Road, Thakeham, was sentenced when he appeared at Hove Crown Court today (August 15).

Mark Spalding was sentenced to nine years in prison (Photograph: Sussex Police)

Mark Spalding was sentenced to nine years in prison (Photograph: Sussex Police)

Sussex Police said at a previous hearing in July he had admitted eight sexual assaults, against a woman aged 21, a woman aged 30, a girl aged 14 and a girl aged 13. He also admitted inciting the younger girl into sexual activity.

The offences were committed over a period of 19 months while Spalding was working for Brighton and Hove Buses.

The adults were both foreign students who were on buses being driven by Spalding at Falmer in late 2015.

The younger victims were two schoolgirls, groomed and assaulted over a period of 19 months.

Spalding admitted two counts of sexual activity with the younger girl, and one count of causing or inciting her to engage in sexual activity, all on buses.

He also admitted the same three charges concerning the older girl, two of which were committed on buses.

The prosecution, authorised by the Crown Prosecution Service, followed an investigation by detectives from the Brighton Safeguarding Investigations Unit.

Detective Constable Elaine Welsh said: "Spalding is clearly a predatory sex offender who took advantage of his access to young women and and vulnerable girls. This has had a huge impact on his victims and their families.

"All four were prepared to give evidence in court,until he changed his pleas just before the trial was due to start. All of them, and in particular the two younger girls, have shown immense courage and remained committed throughout this distressing case. "