Innocent: beautician is cleared after trial

Nicola Puttock

Nicola Puttock

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AN EASTBOURNE beautician accused of sexually assaulting a girl 20 years her junior in a hotel room after plying her with alcohol has been acquitted after a three-day trial.

Jurors at Guildford Crown Court took just 25 minutes to acquit mother-of-two Nicola Puttock, 38, of assault by penetration.

Ms Puttock had vigorously denied the charge.

She protested her innocence at touching up the 18-year-old girl at the Bridge Hotel, Chertsey, Surrey when the two of them returned from a meal and drinks together.

Ms Puttock, of Caroline Way, was attending a two-day beauty course when the alleged incident took place on July 26, 2010.

The court heard that the teenage girl fled the hotel in tears screaming ‘leave me alone’ before alerting police to what had happened.

Susannah Bramley, prosecuting, said the pair went back to Ms Puttock’s hotel room where the defendant stripped to the waist and made advances to the complainant.

“Two male members of the hotel staff had brought some wine into the room which had been ordered and the defendant was not wearing a top,” she said. Ms Bramley said that at the meal the duo had had four bottles of wine between them.

Later in the hotel room, it was alleged, the teenager became very distressed at the defendant’s advances. “She was squirming and trying to get away from the defendant. She was crying.”

Ms Puttock, a beautician at The Beehive, claimed that the encounter was consenting and said, “It was just a drunken fumble,”

She told police, “She was naked and we both kissed each other. She suddenly freaked out and left the hotel. We both had a lot to drink. She was really drunk. Her eyes were glazed and she was giggling a lot.”

She admitted kissing and touching the girl on her face but denied sexual assault.

“I wouldn’t do that. It’s not in my character,” she said.

Ms Puttock added that she was in ‘shock’ when the police arrived at the hotel. “We were just kissing and touching,” she said. “I wouldn’t hurt anyone.”

Ms Puttock said that she had a male partner who has stood by her after the prosecution was launched. “He’s been my rock,” she added.