Woodbridge: Man admits teen sexual assault

A MAN who sexually assaulted an 18-year-old woman after “misreading the signals” has been ordered to do 160 hours unpaid work in the community.

Nigel Smith, 41, had seen the girl in a Woodbridge pub while she was celebrating her 18th birthday and had invited her back to a camper van where he was living, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

Naomi Turner, prosecuting, said the girl had reluctantly accepted Smith’s invitation, but once in the van had felt uncomfortable with his behaviour and used the excuse that she needed to go to the toilet to leave.

Once outside she texted a friend “help me” and had gone back into the camper van to get her handbag. When she told Smith she had to go he “went mental” and had ripped her tights and underwear and “groped” her.

The girl told Smith to get off her and when she left the camper van he had offered to walk her home, but she had declined and had run off, Miss Turner said.

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When Smith was arrested and interviewed about the incident he admitted touching her in a sexual way and accepted he had been “trying his luck”.

Smith, who has been living with his father in Buckfast Avenue, Frinton, admitted sexually touching the girl and in addition to being ordered to do 160 hours unpaid work he was ordered to pay the victim �500 compensation.

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He was also ordered to sign on the Sex Offenders’ Register for five years and was banned for three years from contacting the girl.

Sentencing him, Judge John Devaux said, “You appear to have misread the signals, if indeed there were any signals.”

Nicola May, for Smith, said alcohol had played a part in the incident and her client had “misread the signals”.

“He takes full responsibility for his behaviour and doesn’t blame her for it. He expresses remorse and accepts the incident was distressing for her,” said Miss May said.

She said since the incident Smith’s camper van had been destroyed in a fire and he had lost everything.

She said Smith’s second marriage ended last summer and he had been made redundant from his job 18 months ago.


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