Saturday 24 February 2024
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Man jailed after sexually assaulting three women at a family party

A man has been jailed after sexually assaulting three women at a party held in his family home.

Matthew Cope was already drunk when he joined his partner at a birthday gathering at a pub in Newark.

After inviting everyone back to his house to carry on the party, Cope then carried on drinking heavily and started making people feel uncomfortable by openly making sexual advances on a number of women.

In the presence of his partner and other family members, the 40-year-old then drunkenly groped three different women and put one of his victims in a headlock when she tried to fight him off.

When other people at the party tried to intervene, Cope didn’t stop his behaviour but instead staggered over to one of the women he’d already assaulted and sexually touched her once again.

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Police were then called to the house in Rutland Avenue, Newark, and arrested Cope after finding him drunkenly slumped over in his kitchen in the early hours of 13 October 2019.

Having initially denied doing anything wrong, he changed his plea to guilty on the day of his trial in February 2022, admitting that while he couldn’t remember doing anything, “it must be true” based on the accounts of others.

Cope appeared before Nottingham Crown Court for sentencing on Thursday (9 June), having been charged with three counts of sexual assault.

Ahead of his sentencing, a victim impact statement was read out from one of the women, who said that the experience had made her “feel physically sick”.

Cope was sentenced to 18 months in prison and made subject to a four-year restraining order.

Sentencing Cope, Judge Gregory Dickinson QC said: “This took place in your home when you had a duty to keep other people safe. You were very drunk and made sexual advances towards a number of women, all while in the presence of your partner.

“This was drunken, arrogant and aggressive behaviour against three women which has sadly had a serious and long-lasting effect on them.”

Police Constable Vicky Buttery, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: “Cope’s actions that night were completely unacceptable and have quite rightly landed him with a prison sentence.

“While he may have been extremely drunk when he carried out these lewd acts, this should not be used as an excuse on his behalf, as his actions were inexcusable.

“We understand the highly distressing impact that this kind of offence can have on victims of sexual assault, which is why our officers work so hard to ensure we’re able to respond to all reports we receive of this nature.

“It is so important that crimes like this are reported swiftly to us in order to help bring offenders to justice. With this in mind, we would ask anyone who has been a victim of sexual assault to come forward and speak to an officer – please rest assured that we will listen and will take any reports extremely seriously.”

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