Man guilty of sexually assaulting 16-year-old
A FORT William man has been found guilty of sexually assaulting a teenager in her sleep.
Thomas John Findlay, 18, was found guilty at Fort William Sheriff Court on November 17 of sexually touching the woman, who was 16 at the time and cannot be named for legal reasons, at an address in the town on September 27, 2014.
The apprentice electrician, who was 17 at the time of the offence, was found not guilty of attempting to rape the woman.
Procurator fiscal Michelle Molley used Findlay’s recorded police interview from October 13, 2014 at Fort William police station as her first piece of evidence.
In the interview, he initially denied anything had happened on the night of the offence.
However, when police officers said they had seen a text message conversation between the two from the victim’s mobile phone, claiming he had tried to rape her, Findlay admitted: ‘I did try to have sex with her, but she said no, so I stopped.’
While he claimed he had been asked into the bed by the woman ‘to cuddle up’, she said she had drunkenly fallen asleep on the couch in her living room and woken up in her bedroom to find Findlay behind her in her bed in the ‘spooning’ position. He had pulled the clothing on her bottom half down to her knees and was touching her private parts.
The victim, who was by her own admission, struggling with alcohol and other personal problems at the time, said in court: ‘I woke up in my bedroom downstairs. He must have carried me there. I could feel someone behind me and I turned around and could see it was Thomas.’
The woman said she remembered only one sexual assault, however Findlay said he twice fondled the woman while she was sleeping – once at around 11pm, after which the pair fell asleep, and once again at around 1am, at which point he left after she told him to stop.
Defending, Hamish Melrose asked the victim: ‘Thomas was clearly trying it on with you?’
‘ While I was sleeping, passed out,’ she replied.
Mr Melrose said: ‘I put it to you that he didn’t try to have sex with you outwith your will?’ She replied: ‘ Well, why did he wait till I was sleeping?’
In court, Findlay said at no point did he expose himself but did admit to touching her sexually on two occasions, while she was asleep.
Fiscal Molley said to Findlay: ‘The first time she said to you, ‘ what the f*** are you doing?’, but you tried a second time. You were sober, she was drunk and asleep. Do you know what consent is?’ Findlay replied: ‘ Yes’. The fiscal continued: ‘If she is asleep, can she consent?’, to which he replied, ‘No’.
Findlay also admitted under cross- examination that he ‘felt bad for her’, and for ‘hurting her’.
Sheriff Michael Fletcher QC deferred sentence on Findlay until December 6 for criminal social justice and psychological reports, and ordered him to be put on the sex offenders register.