A drunken man who sexually assaulted a woman in a hot tub at a New Year’s Even party has been jailed.
Garden centre worker Paul Gregory, 25, groped his victim for several minutes despite her telling him to stop, Maidstone Crown Court heard.
Gregory, from Wisteria Gardens, Swanley, Kent, was convicted of one count of sexual assault.
He was sentenced on 1 October to two years and three months in prison, Kent Police said.
His victim managed to escape the hot tub during the party and fled to a bathroom where she broke down and reported the incident.
The sexual assault took place at a “private social gathering” on New Year’s Eve in 2019, Kent Police said.
The force said Gregory was “immediately challenged by several people at the scene”.
His victim later told her boyfriend that she “froze” after being touched by Gregory.
When questioned by police, Gregory apologised but said his behaviour had been “blown out of proportion” and that he was very drunk, the court heard.
He falsely claimed the victim had been flirting with him and said she “should have told him 'no' and removed his hand”.
Gregory admitted to sexually assaulting his victim. During his plea, Gregory told the judge that what he had done was “frankly disgusting”.
Tom Aitken, defending, said Gregory was terrified of going to prison and had been shunned by many of his friends since the incident.
But Judge Julian Smith described his actions as “grave”, before sentencing him to 27 months in prison.
His name will also remain on the Sex Offenders' Register for 10 years.
Detective Constable Jonathan Summers, Kent Police’s investigating officer for the case, said: “Gregory committed an appalling and exceptionally degrading offence on the victim of the case.
“His behaviour falls far short of what any reasonable person could consider acceptable and demonstrates an astounding lack of decency and respect.
“This offence has had a profound impact on the victim and I sincerely hope that she can gain a sense of assurance from this result.
“No woman should tolerate being abused in this way and I would encourage anyone affected by a similar offence to report it to us so we can support them and pursue justice.”
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