A 'SEXUAL predator' has been jailed for 12 months after touching two teenage girls in a McColl's store.

Tomasz Matusiak, of Lysander Drive, Padgate, targeted girls aged 16 and 15 while they were shopping in the Runcorn store.

The 32-year-old appeared in Chester Crown Court yesterday, Thursday, almost one year after he failed to appear for his original court date.

During the hearing, the prosecution said that on the evening of May 16, 2019, one of the girls felt someone touching her bottom twice while she was on the phone.

The girl got in touch with her family and Matusiak was confronted by the girl's grandfather outside.

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Later that evening a second girl was in the shop, wearing her school uniform.

She first thought someone had brushed past her but she was aware of a man behind her standing 'uncomfortably close' and realised what had happened.

Matusiak, who has no previous convictions, told police he had mistaken the first girl for a colleague, meaning it to be a joke between them.

He said the colleague was tall and blonde but CCTV showed neither girl to match this description.

Hayley Bennett, defending Matusiak, said the reason her client did not attend court last year was because of his lack of transportation, and he tried to find alternative arrangements.

She added that Matusiak, who had been drinking prior to the offences, had given a prompt guilty plea.

Sentencing in Chester Crown Court, Judge Patrick Thompson said: "The two young girls have been left shaken.

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"Initially one of them was so scared she had to be walked to the bus stop and now she describes herself as stressed and sad.

"The other girl has been left with her confidence severely dented.

"She already had anxiety problems and these have been exasperated.

"You tried to suggest this was all a joke with a work colleague.

"It seems to me that was a lie, and that was you trying to talk your way out of what you had done.

"Because you didn't turn up in August last year at the Crown Court, you had to be arrested and brought to the court in June.

"You are certainly a sexual predator."

Matusiak was sentenced to 12 months in prison and is subject to a restraining order, which also prohibits him from entering the McColl's store.

He will need to sign the sex offenders register for 10 years.