Man assaulted sleeping woman as wife lay next to him in bed

A man who ended up sharing a bed with three women after a wedding sexually assaulted one of them while his wife lay next to him.

Recruitment consultant Joe Holtham, 32, was staying at Hunters Hall hotel near Tetbury, Glos, with his wife Sarah when another couple locked themselves out of their room.

They joined the Holthams – together with a third woman who also could not get in her room – and Holtham went to bed with his wife to his right, another woman to his left and a third woman on the far side. The other man slept on the floor.

Prosecutor Michael Hall told Gloucester Crown Court the woman woke to find herself being assaulted.

Mr Hall said: "She says she froze. It took her a moment or two to come round – obviously, all the parties had been drinking.

"She lay there still pretending to be asleep in the hope it would stop. But what happened next was that she found her wrap-around dress was being undone.

"She had it tied at her right hip. She was lying on her left side. She felt her dress being undone.

"She became aware that the defendant's wife had woken up and there was some conversation between them, pillow talk in hushed tones."

Mr Hall said the woman lay still until she believed Mr Holtham had gone back to sleep. She then got up, went to the bathroom, then lay on the floor.

At one stage Mr Holtham sat up and offered her his place in the bed, saying he would get on the floor, but she refused.

The woman left the hotel and later reported the incident at BishopsGate police station in London .

During a police interview Holtham said he may have accidentally drunkenly touched the woman's bottom in the dark thinking it was his wife's.

The business owner from Arden, Warwickshire, told the court: "I don't know how long I did it for but I actually stopped myself when I realised who it was. I thought it was Sarah."

"I told my wife about it in the morning and I sent the woman a text saying sorry."

"I touched her bum – over her underwear – but then I came around and stopped myself from doing it."

After his victim had left the hotel he texted the woman saying "Would you mind chatting when we get a moment to ourselves? Sorry."

He sent two further texts asking if she was okay and why she was blanking him and he also tried to phone her once.

She did not respond to any of his messages.

The jury returned majority guilty verdicts on two counts of penetration and Holtham will be sentenced on June 15.

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