A handsy-pervert from Lewisham grabbed an off-duty female police officer's boot on a Croydon train, a court has heard.

Paul Ghigbu, 51, who is banned from touching any women or their clothing in public after a previous offence, allegedly bent down before grabbing her boot while looking up and smiling.

The alleged victim boarded the Epsom Downs train at West Croydon station at 1.30pm on November 4, 2018.

Giving evidence at Hendon Magistrates' Court, the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said Ghigbu smiled at her as she boarded the train and she smiled back.

But when she turned around to sit down on a seat, he appeared "face to face" with her.

Wearing the same black knee high boots she wore the day of the alleged incident, she said: "He bent down and placed his hand in a grasp like fashion.

"It wasn't light but it was quite firm. It was for quite a number of seconds. I felt very uncomfortable and tried to comprehend what happened.

"He was looking up and smiling. I hit his hand away with the back of mine. It made him release his grip.

"I said something along the lines of 'what the hell or what the f***'.

"I thought I should have taken a photo of him, it wasn't right what he did. I didn't want him to do it to anyone else and I didn't want his behaviour to escalate."

She said Ghigbu got off the train "as the doors were beeping" at West Croydon station - where she had boarded minutes before.

Ghigbu was already under a 10 year sexual offences prevention order dating back to April 2015. The order prohibited Ghigbu to deliberately touch a woman of any age or their clothing in a public place without their consent.

Ghigbu was "unaware" that the complainant was an off duty police officer, the court heard.

As soon as the officer arrived at work half an hour later, enquiries were made and Ghigbu was quickly identified through CCTV footage, the prosecutor said.

On November 29, he was arrested on suspicion of breaching the order.

But Ghigbu told the court that he bent down because he dropped his travel card.

He said: "I was maybe smiling but not at her. I was listening to music - a tune came on and I was bopping.

"Why would I say something to someone I don't know? I was singing."

He added that it was "possible" he "brushed passed" the victim's knee length boot but his "main objective was to pick up the pass I dropped."

When told by the prosecution that he was using the travel card as an excuse and he touched her boot because it "turned him on", Ghigbu disagreed.

The police officer's version of events was challenged by defence lawyer Jack Jennett.

He said the complainant's "swiping motion" is not shown on the CCTV footage shown to the court.

He told the court: "She was focusing on his face so she could not be certain he didn't drop something."