A senior barristers’ clerk has been found guilty of attempting to rape a woman at a Christmas party and raping a barmaid after a wedding reception five years earlier.
Jason Britcher, 40, of Woodgate Road, sexually assaulted the sleeping woman by creeping into her hotel room – and carried out a similar attack on the first victim.
A jury of six women and five men took just two hours after a nine-day trial at Hull Crown Court to find him guilty of rape, attempted rape and one sexual assault. They found him not guilty of one act of sexual touching on the barmaid.
The prosecution claimed Britcher’s clean-cut image as a charming gentleman masked a hard-drinking sexual predator. Judge Jeremy Richardson, QC, said, “By your conduct you have visited disaster on others and you have visited disaster on yourself. You must be punished for your wrong-doing. Clearly you must be given a sentence of some substance. Some powerful mitigation has been put before me, which I must think about before I sentence.”
Defence counsel David Osbourne said Britcher had a wonderful career which was now in tatters. He said the sentence ‘would take away a father and a husband from the family’.
Married Britcher, who has a teenage daughter, admitted mixing whisky and gin and snorting cocaine at the Christmas party.
He was pictured on CCTV being guided by a night porter to his room. Britcher claimed his mind went blank after crashing out on his bed and said he must have ‘sleep walked’ into the woman’s room.
She had left the party for the hotel leaving her door unlocked so her female friend could share the room.
She texted her husband saying she “loved him” before falling asleep in her party dress.
She added, “The next thing I remember was someone next to me cuddling up. I thought it was my husband. There was no initial alarm. I was fast asleep. But I felt that person touching me.
“I was asleep at the time and put my hand down and touched him. I think I became more aware at that point.”
She said she was sexually assaulted twice. Britcher left the woman in a state of distress and went back to sleep in his hotel room.
The woman called her sister in tears, saying she had woken up to find a man “on top of her.” She could barely breathe or talk and initially did not want to report it.
Britcher was arrested the next morning and set about destroying forensic evidence by licking his fingers and dipping them in coffee provided in the police cell because he ‘did not believe anyone would believe my story’.
The second victim, attacked after a wedding and left bleeding, told the court, “I thought everything was a dream. I could feel him inside me.”
The court was told Britcher was an ‘opportunist sex offender who takes his chance when it arises’. He will be sentenced on Friday morning (December 19).