Month: August 2016

Singer Chris Brown Arrested for Assault

Image of R and B singer Chris Brown

American R&B singer Chris Brown has been arrested and charged with assault with a deadly weapon.

Incident

A spokesperson for the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) said that police had been called to Brown’s property at around 3am PST on Tuesday morning after a woman called police for help.

Lt Chris Ramirez of the LAPD told reporters that they received a call early on Tuesday from outside the residence in the Tarzana neighbourhood. However, Lt Ramirez did not say what assistance the woman required.

Calls to representatives for Brown were not immediately returned.

2009 Attack

This is not the first time the singer has been in trouble with law enforcement – he spent six years on probation after pleading guilty to attacking his girlfriend at the time, Rihanna, in 2009.

Police were called to the scene of a domestic disturbance in the early hours of 8th February, where Rihanna was found with multiple contusions to her face. The couple had been on their way to a Grammy Award after-party and were travelling in Brown’s car.

According to a police affidavit, an argument began when Rihanna discovered a text message from another woman on Brown’s mobile phone.

Brown then attempted to push Rihanna out of the car. He choked her and punched her repeatedly. When Rihanna pretended to phone her assistant for police help, Brown threatened to kill her.

Brown originally claimed he was innocent; however he entered a last minute deal at a Los Angeles court and pleaded guilty to one count of felony assault, avoiding a prison sentence.

Criminal Injuries – Expert Advice

Criminal injuries compensation may be available if you have experienced physical trauma or psychological trauma as a result of a violent crime. Speaking to a member of our team about your criminal injury may be the first time that you have spoken to anybody about your experience – this is common among our clients. We guarantee complete confidentiality throughout your claim.

We understand that if you have been subjected to an act of violence, your thoughts will turn to making a full recovery – compensation will likely be the last thing on your mind.

There is, however, a government Scheme that provides compensation to victims or their families who have been the innocent victims of violent crime. The Scheme is called the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme and is governed by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA).

If you would like expert advice on this type of case, contact Hampson Hughes Solicitors today on 0800 888 6 888 or email claims@hampsonhughes.com.

Source: The Guardian; The Guardian

Woman Convicted of Gross Negligence Manslaughter

Black and white image of slit lamp used by optometrists

In a landmark case, an optometrist has been handed a two year suspended prison sentence following the death of a young boy, whose symptoms of a life-threatening brain condition were not picked up during a routine eye test.

Incident

When eight year old Vincent Barker visited a branch of Boots in Ipswich for an eye test, he was suffering with swollen optic discs. Honey Rose, the optometrist carrying out the test, failed to spot Vincent’s swollen optic discs which is a symptom of hydrocephalus, or fluid on the brain. The eight year old died around five months after the test in July 2012.

Ipswich Crown Court heard how Ms Rose had failed to examine the backs of Vincent’s eyes with an ophthalmoscope during the test, and that she had also failed to examine retinal photos of Vincent that were taken by a colleague.

Sentencing

Sentencing the 35 year old, Judge Jeremy Stuart-Smith said that although the breach of duty was a ‘single lapse’, the seriousness of the incident meant that it was a criminal act. The court also heard that after discovering that Vincent had died, Ms Rose attempted to ‘cover up’ her failings by claiming that Vincent had showed signs of photophobia. In an account that was dismissed as false by Judge Stuart-Smith, Ms Rose said that Vincent had not been cooperating with her at the time of the test.

Ms Rose, of East Ham in east London, was convicted of gross negligence manslaughter at Ipswich crown court. She was also ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work and given a 24-month supervision order.

The ruling is thought to be the first conviction of an optometrist for gross negligence manslaughter. Judge Stuart-Smith told Ms Rose:

“You simply departed from your normal practice in a way that was completely untypical for you, a one-off, for no good reason.”

He went on to say that there was “nothing in [Vincent’s] general presentation that should have rung particular alarm bells for you” and that Ms Rose was “generally competent”.

He added that an immediate custodial sentence was not essential to highlight ‘the importance of optometrists properly discharging their duty to patients’ due to the fact the case had been so highly publicised.

‘Our loss should have been prevented’

Praising Vincent’s family for showing ‘dignity and restraint’ throughout the trial, Judge Stuart-Smith noted that they called for leniency when sentencing. A written statement from Vincent’s mother Joanne Barker said:

“The knowledge our loss should have been prevented and Vinnie should have been saved is intolerable to live with.”

Telling the court how Ms Rose had worked ‘extremely hard’ to qualify in India before moving to the UK, Ian Stern QC, mitigating, said:

“The loss of that vocation, which undoubtedly will happen when she comes before a fitness-to-practise panel, will affect her self-respect as someone who worked so hard to obtain those qualifications.”

He added that the case had “sent shockwaves round the optometric practice”.

Jonathan Rees QC, prosecuting, said that a letter from the Association of Optometrists expressed that there had been an increase in practitioners’ concerns regarding the way they carry out their jobs.

Fatal Injury Compensation

Fatal injury compensation may be available in cases where the death of a loved one is linked to medical negligence. If you believe that the actions of a medical professional contributed to your loved one’s death, we can help. Contact our specialist team of medical negligence solicitors today for expert advice and guidance throughout your fatal injury compensation claim.

Depending on your circumstances, we may also be able to provide you with expert legal representation at inquests – we will explain and discuss these options with you in full. Discover today how we could help you. Remember, we offer you a FREE, no-obligation consultation. Call 0800 888 6 888 or email info@hh-law.co.uk.

Source: The Guardian

Pregnant Woman Attacked on North London Street

Image of blue and white police tape

A woman has described her ordeal as she was attacked and robbed by a young man on a London street in June this year, while she was in labour.

Incident

Patience Chukwu was on her way to hospital when she took her mobile phone out of her bag to call her sister and birthing partner. However, as she did so, a young man on a bicycle approached her and grabbed her phone.

During the attack, Ms Chukwu – who was experiencing contractions at the time, was dragged down the street and repeatedly punched in the head as she tried to shield her stomach.

Immediately after the attack, members of the public came to Ms Chukwu’s aid and called the police. Once police arrived, the 40 year old was questioned by an officer about the incident and a second officer timed her contractions while they waited for an ambulance.

Ms Chukwu said of the incident:

“He was pulling me, dragging me with the bike, I was pleading. I said: ‘Please, I’m in labour, as you can see I’m heavily pregnant.’ He didn’t want to listen, he didn’t want to stop, he was trying to ride the bike.

“He was hitting me to let go but I refused to let go.”

Calling her attacker a ‘coward’, she added:

“He really wanted to hit my tummy because the level of which his hand was coming would have landed on my stomach. So I shielded my baby, with my hand and I bent down, the blow went to my eyes and everything became so dark.

“I couldn’t see so I let go … and the boy started pedalling away.”

Distress to Mother & Child

The commotion and shock of the incident caused her unborn child to become distressed, with midwives unable to detect the baby’s heartbeat. The child was rushed to intensive care following an emergency cesarean. Ms Chukwu has expressed that she feels responsible for her son’s distress:

“I saw all the wires connected, I felt so responsible that my baby was going through that. I felt that if I had not run after the man or held on to him, being dragged by him, my baby might not have gone through that stress.

“But I was told even if I didn’t go after the boy or hold him, the shock alone that my phone was snatched unexpectedly is also enough for the baby to go through that same shock, that stress.”

Since the attack, two month old Ozil suffers with painful seizures on a daily basis. His mother, who suffered with depression and anxiety prior to the attack, is now even more afraid to walk down the street and fears using her phone in public. She said:

“I don’t feel safe, I don’t feel free going out now.

“I’m so afraid of people coming towards me … And no matter how important the call is, if I have a phone call, if my phone is ringing as long as I’m outside I don’t pick it [up].”

“Now if I see someone coming, especially a man on a bike, I will look for another alternative route to take.”

Police Investigation

The attacker has been described as ‘a short black man of medium build between 18 and 20 years old, with shaven hair and brown eyes’. He was apparently wearing a hooded grey top at the time of the attack and is described to have ‘a slim face with pronounced cheek bones and a rough, pock-marked complexion’.

The attack took place at around 9am on Sunday 26 June on Leadale Road, North London. Anyone with information regarding the attack on is asked to contact the investigation team on 07795 122 325 or 101 and request Hackney CID, or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Criminal Injury – Expert Advice

We understand that if you have been subjected to an act of violence, your thoughts will turn to making a full recovery – compensation will likely be the last thing on your mind.

There is, however, a government Scheme that provides compensation to victims or their families who have been the innocent victims of violent crime. The Scheme is called the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme and is governed by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA).

If you would like expert advice on this type of case, contact Hampson Hughes Solicitors today on 0800 888 6 888 or email claims@hampsonhughes.com.

Source: The Guardian

Employee Injured after Falling Through Fragile Skylight

Image of a barn with a roof in need of repair relating to an accident at work incident

A self-employed business man has been fined after one of his employees fell through a fragile skylight.

Incident

On 13 November 2014, Ian Kirby – an employee of Phillip Posnett, was replacing broken tiles on the roof of a farm building. Liverpool Magistrates’ Court heard how once the work was completed, Mr Kirby stepped onto an adjacent roof to get rid of debris. He fell through a fragile roof light and landed in the scraper of a tractor that was parked below.

Mr Kirby was unable to return to work for six months after suffering head injuries, broken ribs, a broken collar bone and a chip to the spine.

HSE Investigation

The Health and Safety Executive investigated the incident and found that no risk assessment had been carried out for the work in question. Mr Kirby had not been provided with information or instruction on the possible risks of working at height, furthermore he had not undergone specific training in order to carry out work at height.

Sentencing

After pleading guilty to breaching Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, Mr Phillip Posnett, of Haughton Hall, Hall Lane, Haughton, Tarporley, was fined £16,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,330.80.

HSE inspector Jane Carroll said after the hearing:

“Falls through fragile roofs are a well-documented hazard when undertaking roof work of any type. This case highlights how a failure to risk assess a job properly and identify the presence of a fragile roof can lead to serious personal injury for workers.”

Injury at Work – Expert Advice

If you have suffered an injury at work you could be entitled to personal injury compensation. Remember, we offer you a FREE no-obligation consultation – discover today whether you have a claim. Speak to one of our professional and friendly advisers today on 0800 888 6 888 or email claims@hampsonhughes.co.uk.

Toddler Dies Following Dog Attack

Close up image of a white american bulldog relating to a dog attack

A three year old boy has died and a woman has been arrested, after the child was mauled to death by a dog at a house in Essex yesterday.

Second fatal attack this week

The incident is the second fatal dog attack to happen in the UK in just four days. 52 year old David Ellam died after being attacked by a neighbour’s dog in Huddersfield earlier this week.

Essex police were called to a residential street in Halstead at 5.40pm on Thursday, after neighbours heard screams coming from a property. The child, later named by police as Dexter Neal, was airlifted to Addenbrooke’s hospital in Cambridgeshire by East of England ambulance service; however he later died from his injuries.

According to Essex police, a 29 year old woman has been arrested for allowing a dog to be dangerously out of control and injuring a person. The dog in question, an American bulldog, has been detained in police kennels.

Calls for new licensing system

Labour MP Barry Sheerman, who represents Huddersfield, has called for a new system of dog licensing and a full inquiry following the death of the child. He told the Guardian:

“These two deaths in four days mean we have got to seriously look at the evidence of a proper licensing system for dogs. Other parts of the world do it so much better than us.”

He added:

“It should be mandatory. The old dog licence was not a proper licensing system, there were no real checks on the appropriateness of the home where the pet would be brought up. People are getting dogs and not looking after them properly, and we know there is a ghastly subculture of dog fighting up and down this country. We all know it happens, but it’s below the surface.

“Every dog should be examined in terms of its breed and appropriateness for the home it is going to go to. Licences should be refused if the home is deemed inappropriate.”

Types of dangerous dog

The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 introduced ‘breed specific legislation’ that bans the ownership, breeding, selling, or giving away of four types of dog:

• Fila Brasileiro
• Pit Bull Terrier
• Japanese Tosa
• Dogo Argentino

Breaching the legislation may result in a fine of up to £5,000 and a potential prison sentence of up to six months.

Dangerous dogs – police action

There are several circumstances under which the police may take action against a suspected dangerous dog:

• A report of a dog being encouraged to fight other dogs
• A report of a banned breed that has not been granted exemption
• A report of breeding, selling, abandoning, or giving away a banned breed
• A report that a dog has been dangerously out of control (i.e. causing or threatening injury)

There are an estimated 10 million pet dogs in the UK. If you think that you may be in possession of a banned breed, you may qualify for an “exemption” if the police deem that your animal does not pose a threat. Qualifying for an exemption involves a court procedure that may impose conditions such as muzzling in public.

Dog attacks – expert advice

If you have been attacked by a dog, even where the dog did not cause physical harm, you may be entitled to compensation. Whatever your experience involving a dangerous dog attack, speak to our expert team of personal injury solicitors today to discover how we could help you. For further information, call 0800 888 6 888 or email info@hampsonhughes.com.

Source: Guardian; Hampson Hughes

Man Dies Following Dog Attack

Image of a white bull terrier with a grass background

A 52 year old man from Yorkshire has died after he was attacked by a dog that had only recently been returned to its owner, for fears it was dangerous.

Incident

52 year old David Ellam was taken to hospital by paramedics on Monday morning after police were called to the Sheepridge area of Huddersfield. Mr Ellam was pronounced dead at 9pm that evening at Huddersfield Royal infirmary.

The dog in question was seized by police in June this year after a number of complaints from the public, claiming the dog was dangerous. However, the dog was returned to its owners after it was found not to be a pit bull terrier, a breed banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act, but a female bull terrier.

Neighbours who witnessed the attack on Monday said that Mr Ellam was trying to protect his own dog, a terrier, when he was bitten on the head, arm and leg. He was left unconscious and when officers arrived at the scene, they had to use a fire extinguisher to fend off the bull terrier.

A 29 year old man, thought to be the owner of the bull terrier and Mr Ellam’s neighbour, has been arrested in relation to the incident.

IPCC Investigation

The incident has been referred to the independent police complaints commission. The IPCC will now decide if the dog, which is being detained in police kennels, will be returned to the owner.

Leading the investigation is DCI Mark Swift of West Yorkshire police’s homicide and major inquiry team. He said:

“Clearly our thoughts go out to the family at this tragic time. They are understandably devastated by what has happened and are being supported by specially trained officers.

“Our investigation is continuing. We believe that the victim was out with his own dog at the time of the attack near to his home address on Riddings Road. His dog, a Yorkshire terrier, was also injured during the incident and received emergency veterinary care.”

Types of dangerous dog

The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 introduced ‘breed specific legislation’ that bans the ownership, breeding, selling, or giving away of four types of dog:

• Fila Brasileiro
• Pit Bull Terrier
• Japanese Tosa
• Dogo Argentino

Breaching the legislation may result in a fine of up to £5,000 and a potential prison sentence of up to six months.

Dangerous dogs – police action

There are several circumstances under which the police may take action against a suspected dangerous dog:

• A report of a dog being encouraged to fight other dogs
• A report of a banned breed that has not been granted exemption
• A report of breeding, selling, abandoning, or giving away a banned breed
• A report that a dog has been dangerously out of control (i.e. causing or threatening injury)

There are an estimated 10 million pet dogs in the UK. If you think that you may be in possession of a banned breed, you may qualify for an “exemption” if the police deem that your animal does not pose a threat. Qualifying for an exemption involves a court procedure that may impose conditions such as muzzling in public.

Dog attacks – expert advice

If you have been attacked by a dog, even where the dog did not cause physical harm, you may be entitled to compensation. Whatever your experience involving a dangerous dog attack, speak to our expert team of personal injury solicitors today to discover how we could help you. For further information, call 0800 888 6 888 or email info@hampsonhughes.com.

Source: Guardian; Hampson Hughes

Galvanising Firm Fined after Worker is Injured

Bradford based galvanising firm T & D Galvanising Ltd has been fined by the Health & Safety Executive after a worker sustained serious injuries.

Incident

In June 2015, Mr Ali Zada was using an overhead crane to lift a bundle of mesh panels when one of the lifting wires snapped on one side. The bundle of mesh panels swung and struck Mr Zada’s leg, knocking him to the floor.

Bradford Magistrate’s Court heard that previously there had been a number of incidents of loads falling from overhead cranes due to workpieces being moved and becoming loose or wire tires not being tied correctly. HSE investigators also found that employees had not been provided with sufficient information regarding the various safe methods of tying the wires or working load limits.

Sentencing

After pleading guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, T & D Galvanising Ltd of Bowling Back Lane Bradford was fined a total of £9,000. The company was also ordered to pay costs of £1,379.

HSE inspector Andrea Jones said after the hearing:

“No checks were made to ensure that employees were aware and understood that wire ties should not be re-used after being dipped into the zinc tank.

“This accident could have had fatal consequences. Mr Zada was fortunate not to have received more serious injuries. This demonstrates the importance of planning lifting operations and training of employees to ensure safe methods are followed.”

Injury at Work – Expert Advice

If you have suffered an injury at work you could be entitled to personal injury compensation. Remember, we offer you a FREE no-obligation consultation – discover today whether you have a claim. Speak to one of our professional and friendly advisers today on 0800 888 6 888 or email claims@hampsonhughes.co.uk.

Source: Health & Safety Executive

Photographer Pleads Guilty to Sexual Assault

Close up image of person holding a digital camera with lens in forefront

A British man has recently been jailed for more than 11 years, after he admitted drugging and raping three young men he met on social media.

Bristol Crown court heard how 43 year old Nigel Wilkinson set up a website last year, WilkoPhotography, and marketed himself as a fitness photographer. He would scout Instagram for potential victims and then invite them back to his home for a photo shoot under the guise of ‘putting together a modelling portfolio’. However, once they arrived, he would ply his victims with alcohol that was laced with various drugs, including Rohypnol, before attacking them.

Police investigation

Police began investigating Wilkinson in February of this year. Kent police were called by the girlfriend of a 19 year old man after she had received a text message from her boyfriend that claimed he had been drugged. Officers found the 19 year old at Wilkinson’s home and after a number of hospital tests, traces of a sedative were discovered in his system. The man also underwent further tests at a sexual assault referral centre, the results of which prompted officers to make an arrest.

When they arrived at Wilkinson’s home to make the arrest in April, police found a 23-year-old man asleep on the sofa. The man underwent tests at the Bridge sexual assault centre in Bristol and it was found that he had been drugged and raped.

A third victim, another 19 year old male, was discovered by police during their investigation. Like Wilkinson’s other two victims, this young man was also found to have traces of sedatives in his system. Empty drug packets and photographs of other young males on his computer (some of whom were naked) were also found during police searches of Wilkinson’s property.

None of his victims have any recollection of the acts committed on them.

Sentencing

The 43 year old received a sentence of 11 and a half years after pleading guilty to two counts of rape and three counts of administering a substance with intent to rape. Wilkinson also pleaded guilty to possession of the class C drugs Flunitrazepam, also known as Rohypnol, and Nitrazepam.

Sentencing, Judge Michael Longman told him:

“You wanted to have sex with as many attractive men as possible. All the victims were much younger than you and entrusted themselves to you. You abused the trust they placed in you.”

Continued Investigation

The police investigation into Wilkinson’s background is ongoing. As the three known victims had no memory of the attacks, police are concerned that there may be many more victims. Officers have expressed that they want to speak with anyone who may have been in contact with him through dating or photography websites and that the number of potential victims is expected to run into double figures.

PC Mike Steven said:

“The circumstances of this case are truly horrifying. I’d encourage any other victim of Nigel WIlkinson to come forward and speak to us. We’re always here and ready to listen to, believe and respect victims.”

Sexual Abuse Claims – Expert Advice

Hampson Hughes Solicitors specialises in directing sexual abuse claims in a considerate and compassionate manner. Our Abuse & Criminal Injuries Department is headed by Greg Neill – Greg is a member of the Association of Child Abuse Lawyers (ACAL). More detailed information regarding sexual abuse claims can be found here.

For an open and friendly conversation about your situation, and to find out how we can assist you relevant to your individual experience, call 0800 888 6 888 or email info@hh-law.co.uk.

You will be given the direct-dial of your case handler, meaning that you will always be able to reach the person you need.

Source: Guardian

Sexual Abuse | Man Jailed for Grooming 10 Year Old

Image of whatsapp logo on mobile telephone

A 23 year old man has been handed a ten and a half year jail sentence after he was found guilty of causing or inciting a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity and possession of indecent images of children.

Groomed

Jamie Baker, of New Addington, Surrey, began messaging his victim, a ten year old girl, in May 2014. He groomed the young child over WhatsApp – a free messaging app – ordering her to pose for sexually explicit photographs and videos.

An early text message sent to the child read:

‘You’re 10? How come your boobs are so big?’

When she refused to send further messages, Baker threatened to show the girl’s mother the messages she had sent.
Another message retrieved by police read:

‘[My friend] said she would tell your mum – she’s got all the pictures and she’s going to tell your mum because you ignored her.’

Images of Other Girls

Police officers found dozens of images of 13 other children (all girls of a similar age), when they raided Baker’s home on 26 September 2014.

Police discovered a message on his phone from a man, known only as Frank, telling him to ‘delete the kid porn photos’. When questioned about this, Baker claimed that this was a ‘joke’, telling officers that the images were already on his phone when he bought it second hand.

Sentencing at the Old Bailey

Baker denied all charges, however he was sentenced to nine years for causing or inciting a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity. The paedophile was sentenced to a further 18-month sentence for four counts of possession of indecent images of children, to run consecutive to the nine-year sentence.

Baker was also served with a Sexual Harm Prevention Order, prohibiting him from contacting anybody under the age of 16 via the internet, along with an order to sign the sex offenders’ register for life.

Sentencing Baker at the Old Bailey, Judge Daniel Worsley said:

‘Some may say that the keys should be thrown away.’

‘It’s quite clear that you engaged in a persistent course of conduct over the summer months of 2014 which essentially involved blackmailing that little girl and persuading her, for fear of you reporting things to her mother, to take pictures of herself taken in sexual poses.’

The judge added that this case was ‘particularly worrying’ as Baker had downloaded so many images of other girls. Judge Worsley went on to say:

‘You had spread your tentacles to include others so that images no doubt taken by people such as you who encourage girls to touch themselves were downloaded.’

‘These are young girls with their lives ahead of them: their sexual lives, their married lives – all likely to be tainted by your activities.’

Sexual abuse claims – expert advice

Hampson Hughes Solicitors specialises in directing sexual abuse claims in a considerate and compassionate manner. Our Abuse & Criminal Injuries Department is headed by Greg Neill – Greg is a member of the Association of Child Abuse Lawyers (ACAL). More detailed information regarding sexual abuse claims can be found here.

For an open and friendly conversation about your situation, and to find out how we can assist you relevant to your individual experience, call 0800 888 6 888 or email info@hh-law.co.uk.

You will be given the direct-dial of your case handler, meaning that you will always be able to reach the person you need.

Source: Mail Online

Barrister Cleared of Sexual Assault

Black and white image of a wooden gavel resting on an open textbook

A London barrister has recently been cleared of sexual assault, after a Judge decided he could not be sure the events unfolded in the way the alleged victim described, due to her alcohol consumption on the night in question.

Alleged Incident – Sexual Assault

Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court in North London heard how 36 year old Alex Di Francesco met and struck up a conversation with the 24 year old woman in Daly’s Wine Bar, Central London. When the bar closed, he took her back to his chambers.

Dilichi Onuzo, prosecuting, said:

‘They chatted for an hour until closing time. He told her he was a barrister, she did not believe him so went on Google to check. They had a conversation about whether he had a wig and gown.’

Di Francesco then allegedly tried to force himself on the 24 year old woman, telling her to ‘grow up’ and demanding to know why she wouldn’t sleep with him when she tried to push him away.

Miss Onuzo added:

‘She went to his chambers at 25 Bedford Row and he took her to his office to show her his wig and gown. She tried on the wig and gown and he took her upstairs to an office, where there was a large conference table.

‘He tried to kiss her, she moved away. She felt sleepy and lay down on the floor. He laid down and pulled down her tights and panties and reached for her. She pushed him away, pulled up her tights and pants and he then grabbed her bum really, really hard.

‘Mr Di Francesco asked her “Aren’t we going to have sex?” and she found him aggressive and confrontational.

‘She started crying and said she was having an anxiety attack, which he seemed to find funny and started laughing. She threw up and he was standing behind her.’

The young woman then called an Uber taxi and left. She did not report the incident to police until the following week, the woman told the court:

‘I blamed myself for the fact I hadn’t looked after myself and I had got drunk.

‘It wasn’t until I got more comfortable and I told my mum and my housemates and they said “no, what he did is wrong and alcohol didn’t have anything to do with it”.

‘It’s taken a very long time to even consider being close to someone again.’

Arrest & Defence

Di Francesco was then arrested and questioned by police. In court, the barrister said that the woman had refused to have sex but that she invited him back to her home multiple times to ‘spoon’.

Di Francesco insisted that the young women became angry when he refused to go home with her, telling the court:

‘I said “I can’t, I live in Harpenden”. She said “you won’t go home because I won’t have sex with you” – she said it in a way that got under my skin. I said “that’s not true, but to be perfectly frank, if that’s not what we’re going to do what’s the point?” It might not have been the most sensitive thing to say.

‘I’m in chambers lying on the floor, she wasn’t aggressive – she was just accusatory, and it wasn’t nice anymore and I thought “I’ve got to leave”.’

He added that she did not pull away from his kisses, saying:

‘There was no sharp end to the kiss, there was nothing that had made me think that I had overstepped the mark or I had done something that I shouldn’t have.’

Not Guilty

Di Francesco denied sexual assault, insisting all the touching was consensual and that the woman had kissed him back. He claimed the woman had asked her to lie on the floor with him and ‘be the big spoon’.

The 36 year old was last week cleared of one count of sexual assault, after Deputy District Judge Mr Nicholas Wattan ruled that the complainant’s version of events could not be taken at face value due to the amount of alcohol she had consumed that night. The woman said she had shared champagne and wine with a friend, and consumed up to three double vodkas that night.

Judge Wattan, adding that Di Francesco’s ‘credible’ account ‘stood up well to cross examination’, told the court:

‘I’m concerned her recall of what happened is impaired by the amount of alcohol she had that evening. I can’t be sure the events unfolded in the way she described.’

Sexual abuse claims – expert advice

Hampson Hughes Solicitors specialises in directing sexual abuse claims in a considerate and compassionate manner. Our Abuse & Criminal Injuries Department is headed by Greg Neill – Greg is a member of the Association of Child Abuse Lawyers (ACAL).

For an open and friendly conversation about your situation, and to find out how we can assist you relevant to your individual experience, call 0800 888 6 888 or email info@hh-law.co.uk.

You will be given the direct-dial of your case handler, meaning that you will always be able to reach the person you need.

Source: Mail Online