A MAN who ‘overstepped the boundaries’ and sexually assaulted a young woman while she was visiting one of his neighbours has been given a suspended sentence.
Ian Timms, of Murray Road at the time, had pleaded not guilty at Warwick Crown Court to committing a specific sexual offence against his victim in the summer of 2016.
After more than six hours the jury was unable to agree on a verdict – but Timms, 40, who now lives in Lincoln, then pleaded guilty to an alternative offence of sexual assault.
He was sentenced to two years in prison suspended for 12 months, with an electronically-tagged curfew from 7pm to 7am for three months, and was ordered to register as a sex offender for ten years.
Prosecutor Rebecca Wade had said: “The prosecution case is that the defendant overstepped the boundaries when [his victim] didn’t want him to.
“But your verdict will not be based on emotion or revulsion, but on the evidence.”
Miss Wade said the incident dated back to the summer of 2016 when the victim, a young woman in her 20s, was at the home of one of Timms’s neighbours.
In a letter she gave to a relative three months later, she revealed that Timms had touched her on her leg and then ‘touched me where I never thought he would touch.’
She explained she had been at the home of one of Timms’s neighbours, and had been there by herself when he had walked in and asked her to make him a cup of tea, which she did.
As they then sat on the sofa watching television, he leaned over and tried to kiss her.
She said she told him not to, pointing out that he had a girlfriend – and that she ‘would not do that anyway.’
Timms told her to relax and put his hand down inside her trousers – and when she told him to get off, he told her that ‘this is what friends do.’
He then got up and, before leaving, told her not to tell anyone what had happened.
The police were contacted, and when Timms attended the police station he said he had been going through a rough patch with his partner at the time.
He claimed that as they had been sitting on the sofa he had put his arm out and the young woman had laid on his arm, and had not said anything when he had then put his hand on her leg.
Timms said he ‘took that the wrong way’ and put his hand down her trousers, but that she had then begun to shake, so he had stopped, asked her if she was OK and said he was sorry, and left.
“He said he knew what he had done was wrong, and that he had misread the signals,” said Miss Wade.
The jury heard Timms suffers from Sturge Weber Sydrome and had a seizure in 2019 which has affected his mobility, as a result of which he came into court in a wheelchair – but he did not have that problem at the time, pointed out Miss Wade.
“The issue is whether she consented or whether he reasonably believed she consented.
“He barely knew her. Why did he think she would possibly want him to [touch her]?” Miss Wade asked.