A senior barristers’ clerk has been jailed for nine years this morning (Friday, December 19) for raping a woman and attempting to rape another.
Jason Britcher, 40, sexually assaulted a sleeping woman by creeping into her hotel room after an identical rape of a barmaid five years earlier, when both women were drunk and he thought he could get away with it.
On each occasion Britcher, who was responsible for bringing in work for 50 barristers, was either high on drink or cocaine and looking for sex.
A jury of six women and five men took just two hours after an eight-day trial at Hull Crown Court to find him guilty of rape, attempted rape and once 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, told Britcher, “The consequences for the young woman have been very significant. It has had adverse financial consequences for her and her husband.
“She harboured an overwhelming sense of betrayal and suffered a loss of confidence in her work. This led to depression and she had to seek medical help.
“I have no doubt you are a man prepared to take risks and you unquestionably did that. You raped and attempted to rape two women when you were affected by alcohol and both women were asleep.
“You even perpetrated the two crimes by lifting their dresses in a very similar fashion whilst they lay asleep.
“This has been a catastrophe for everyone concerned. In many respects you deserve a more severe sentence, but I am mindful of the appalling affect this will have upon you and your family.”
Defence counsel David Osborne said Britcher had been a “fantastic clerk” and had a wonderful career which was now in tatters. He said the sentence “would take away a father and a husband from the family.”
In a victim impact statement the barrister said she felt betrayed and the first week after the attack she felt sick and guilty for reporting it to the police.
She left her job, lost out financially and had to be support by family. She felt utterly defeated in August last year and went to the doctor to be described anti-depressants.
She had difficulty explaining what had happened to her mother and it had affected her relationship with her husband. She said the “scars” would remain.
Speaking after the case Det Insp Nick Chambers of Sussex Police said, “Jason Britcher is an opportunist sex offender who preyed on victims when they were at their most vulnerable. Both had been asleep and Jason Britcher knew that.
“He has been convicted of two separate sexual assaults on two women known to him, who he should have been able to trust. It has been a difficult situation for both women and we would like to pay tribute to the courage that they showed in reporting these matters and strength in court.
“Sussex Police encourage victims of sexual assaults to come forward as we always treat them seriously.”