United Kingdom

Construction boss, 47, is jailed for three years for sexually assaulting woman as she slept

A construction boss was today jailed for three years for sexually assaulting a woman as she slept in a hotel bed after he crashed a girls' night out.  

David Horton, 47, jumped on top of his victim and laughed as he forced his fingers inside her while his partner slept in the next bed at the four-star Apex Hotel in London.

Earlier in the evening Horton repeatedly groped the woman's bottom, a judge at Inner London Crown Court previously heard.

The abuse left his victim with post-traumatic stress disorder as she revealed she lived a 'lockdown life long before the pandemic' in her victim impact statement today. 

During a night out in Soho he tried to reach between her legs at Sushi Samba and the Star and Garter pubs before later groping her in a taxi in front of his girlfriend.

His victim also woke up in the twin hotel room she had booked with her friend with Horton stroking her leg.

Horton, then working as a company director at a construction firm, later told police he thought he was touching his girlfriend, who was asleep in the adjacent single bed.

The businessman was convicted of four counts of sexual assault and one charge of assault by penetration by a jury. 

David Horton (pictured during the night out), 47, jumped on top of his victim and laughed as he forced his fingers inside her while his partner slept in the next bed at the four-star Apex Hotel in London 

During the same night Horton was caught on CCTV trying to touch the woman inappropriately when he mistook her 'openness with her sexuality as an invitation'.   

The woman said she woke up at 2am to find Horton 'breathing on my face, with something inside me. He was laughing. When I got home, I didn't do anything or talk to anybody'. 

The two women went down to London for a girls weekend when the victim was told Horton would be meeting them for a few hours.  

The court was told he never left, and drank to excess during the Friday to Sunday period, with his share of the alcohol bill totalling over £400. 

While taking a taxi together back to the hotel Horton then reached over and grabbed her breasts.

After they all fell asleep at the four-star Apex Hotel, the victim awoke to find Horton on top of her, 'laughing' as he assaulted her with his fingers, jurors heard.

Horton has repeatedly shown 'no remorse or empathy', Inner London Crown Court heard.

Giving her victim personal statement in court today, the woman said: 'His actions continue to haunt me on a daily basis.

'Three long and difficult years have passed and still to this day I have not seen any kind of acceptance, remorse and certainly no apology. 

'He has chosen to continue to deny, minimise and even ridicule the events of those 24 hours in May 2018 that left me feeling vulnerable, trapped, disrespected and ultimately violated.

David Horton (pictured), 47, jumped on top of his victim and laughed as he forced his fingers inside her while his partner slept in the next bed at the four-star Apex Hotel in London

'I do not consider myself a victim seeking vengeance, for me it is not possible to right the wrong, what has happened cannot be undone and the events of that day along with the ordeal of reporting it to the police and all that is associated with giving evidence at a trial will stay with me always.'

Ravinder Saimbhi, in mitigation, said the victim's friend, who is still with Horton, had written a letter explaining the trouble the trial had caused them.

She said: 'It's right that the last three years have been an ordeal for her but I do also ask you to balance the ordeal that Mr Horton and his partner has suffered.

'It's been an ordeal for a man who contested the counts.

'He has lost the reputation he has. He has lost the work that he has. He has lost the comfortable lifestyle that he had.

'He has lost his character although I appreciate he does have previous convictions for drink driving but they do not indicate a man who is in any way a predatory individual who has committed these offences.'

Passing sentence, Judge Usha Karu, Honorary Recorder of Southwark, jailed Horton for three years as well as an indefinite notification requirement and the victim surcharge.

She said: 'You have repeatedly denied any illicit behaviour in the hotel bedroom and did not accept your wrongdoing.

'The trial took place earlier this year. I have read the two victim personal statements and she has read the second statement in open court.

'Her distress and anxiety is plain to see. She explained how her life has changed forever. She now suffers from PTSD, she does not go out much and keeps to herself.

'Her mental health has suffered enormously and she continues to have flashbacks and she is not the mother that she would like to be to her children.

'Her further education has also been adversely affected her further education.

'This was persistent and sustained assaults on a woman who repeatedly rejected your advances. I have read the letter from [your partner] that describes your changed behaviour. You have lost your employment, your reputation and your hitherto good character.

'Reading the pre-sentence report that due to the failure to understand your wrongdoing you have no empathy or remorse.

'There can be no doubt these offences cross the custody threshold.'

Horton, of Rotherham, South Yorkshire, who was previously bailed to an address in Cornwall, put his head in his hands as he was told his custodial sentence.

A week after the assaults Horton's victim was encouraged to report the allegations to police after talking to her close friend, who was a serving soldier in the British Army.

Earlier in the evening Horton repeatedly groped the woman's bottom during a night out with his partner, a judge at Inner London Crown Court (pictured) heard

During the trial, prosecutor David Povall said: 'It became clear she that was very distressed and disturbed, not herself. It took five days after she came home before she went to the police about what had happened.'

When questioned, Horton told police he 'got to cop a feel' earlier in the day before suggesting he was 'incredibly drunk' and could not remember what happened.

He said: 'There was lots of flirty innuendos and conversation throughout the day.

'We were talking about boobs, my partner's boobs, the alleged victim's boobs, and if I remember I think I got to cop a feel of both.'

In his police interview, which was played to the jury, Horton said: 'We were getting in the taxi and I think I again copped a feel of the woman's boobs and my partner pulled it away.'

'Was that intentional touching of her boob?' the officer asked.

'I mean I was incredibly drunk... I only know because my partner told me,' Horton said.

Recounting his version of events in the hotel room, he told police he drunkenly 'soiled' himself and ended up asleep on the floor where he accidentally touched the woman's leg.

'Earlier in the morning I sort of woke up, again disoriented... so I put my arm up and I did touch the alleged victim's leg but I felt it move and thought "Ooh crikey, wrong side", and got back into bed with my partner.'

Giving evidence Horton told jurors the woman was being 'very flirty' and 'open' about her sexual preferences which made him feel 'titillated'.

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