A PRISONER celebrating release from jail is back behind bars after groping a five-year-old girl on a train.

Bolton Crown Court heard how Darren Rothwell was let out of prison on April 18 after serving a sentence for battery and harassment.

"After release from Forest Bank the defendant bought a bottle of brandy and, drinking it, he boarded a train to Wigan," said Nigel Booth, prosecuting.

He added that, also on the train, was a five-year-old girl who was with her mum, other children and their mothers heading for Southport.

"The defendant approached the group. His behaviour was rowdy and inappropriate," said Mr Booth.

"He was swearing. He made the group nervous — he was openly drinking alcohol in front of the children."

Rothwell, aged 42, who also uses the alias Noonan, offered to take one of the mums to a hotel, put his hand on her son's knee and leant towards her, telling her he smelt of prison.

"He was intimidating and must have intended to be so," said Mr Booth.

Rothwell, who has previously served a prison sentence for raping a 15-year-old girl, then turned his attention to the five-year-old.

"The girls mother describes him being very aggressive in the way he was speaking. Every second word was a swear word," said Mr Booth, who added that Rothwell kept asking the child to take her tee-shirt and leggings off.

As the train pulled into Wigan station Rothwell picked up the child, cupping her bottom in his hand and kissed her on the cheek.

The mother slapped away his hand and her friend told him: "Put her down now."

As he got off the train Rothwell shouted that they should Google him. After taking photographs of him the girl's family discovered a report about him on the internet describing his previous offending.

Rothwell was arrested and admitted he had been on the train.

In a victim statement the five-year-old's mother said: "I was very shocked he picked my daughter up and I was terrified of what he might have done to her."

Rothwell, of Tamer Grove, Leigh, pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a child.

Hayley Bennett, defending said Rothwell has suffered from PTSD and is now taking medication for his mental health.

Speaking to Judge Gioserano via a video link from prison, Rothwell told him: "Can I just say I am very sorry. I didn't mean to cause any alarm to anybody that day on the train. I was just a little bit excited and obviously the drink weren't helping. I think I was a bit over-excited but I didn't see that at the time."

The judge replied: "Thank you for that but normally people who are a little over-excited and celebrating something don't sexually assault young children — you did."

Rothwell was jailed for a further two years and two months and remains subject to a sexual offences prevention order and on the sex offender's register for life.