Ramzi Selim
Ramzi Selim, 31, was identified by his wife.Cleveland Police

Police successfully tracked down a man seen masturbating on a public bus in front of children after his wife recognised him in a CCTV appeal. Ramzi Selim, 31, admitted to inappropriately touching himself on two occasions. On one occasion, the bus was allegedly carrying children as young as 7-years-old.

Prosecutor Shaun Dodds told Teesside Crown Court that Selim had been living in the UK for seven months and that his wife was pregnant when he carried out the indecent acts, which took place between January and the end of March 2017, reported The Gazette, a local newspaper.

A 19-year-old woman reported Selim to the police after she witnessed him pleasuring himself while sitting behind her on an Arriva bus in Stockton-on-Tees on 17 January. She told officers: "I was shocked and frightened. I was afraid that the man might be a rapist." Her fear prompted her to leave the bus several stops early.

The court heard that CCTV showed Selim masturbating for around 20 minutes before he left the bus. In March, a 14-year-old girl experienced a similar situation in Middlesbrough. She turned around after hearing a noise and discovered that Selim was touching himself inappropriately. She said Selim was staring at a 7-year-old girl on the bus while touching himself, which CCTV showed him doing for around 20 minutes.

The two incidents prompted local police to release an appeal for Selim, using a screenshot taken from CCTV footage of one of his bus journeys. That appeal was successful when a woman successfully identified Selim – his wife.

Selim eventually handed himself to the police. He was questioned and then arrested. Christine Egerton, Selim's lawyer, said he was "in a state of personal turmoil" during the period in which the incidents took place.

She asked for the judge to give him credit for pleading guilty immediately and being remorseful. Selim was sentenced to nine months in prison, is not be allowed to stay with children under 17 without supervision for seven years, and must sign the sex offenders' register for seven years.