Suffolk soldier cleared of sex assault

A SUFFOLK soldier accused of sexually assaulting a woman on a nightclub dance floor in Ipswich has been found not guilty.

A SUFFOLK soldier accused of sexually assaulting a woman on a nightclub dance floor has been found not guilty.

Richard Bennett, who serves in the Royal Engineers based at Woodbridge, denied the charge, which was said to have taken place at Fire and Ice nightclub in Ipswich in January.

Mr Bennett, 21, was accused of grabbing a 31-year-old nurse by the crotch with both hands from behind and pulling her against his groin.

Ipswich Crown Court heard another nurse had seen Bennett approaching her friend and told him she wasn't interested.

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It was alleged Mr Bennett had then pushed her and punched her in the face, leaving a small mark under her eye.

But Mr Bennett also denied a charge of assault causing actual bodily harm and assault by beating.

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Instead, he claimed he had been confronted by two of the woman's friends, one of whom had clawed his neck.

Lance corporal Luke Grattan, a friend of Mr Bennett's, told the court he had been with him in the nightclub and had not seen him sexually assault a woman on the dance floor or punch of kick her friends.

He said he had seen Mr Bennett try to talk to a woman then seen one of her friends grab him by the neck.

A jury at Ipswich Crown Court cleared Bennett of the offences yesterday.

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