Man jailed for Santa Pod Raceway sex assault

14/12/2012

A refuse collector who sexually assaulted a student at the Santa Pod Raceway has been jailed for two and a half years today, Friday, 14 December 2012.

James Furlong was drunk at the time and had pestered the 20-year-old victim when they were both attending a weekend event in April this year. She had made it plain she was not interested, but he persisted.

He then offered to light her cigarette and suggested they move to a sheltered spot where he pushed her against a caravan and put his hand up her skirt, said prosecutor Helen Guest.

"She was petrified and believed she was going to be raped. She pleaded with him to stop and screamed for help," said Miss Guest.

After committing the indecent assault, he left her crying uncontrollably. She immediately told someone what had happened and was taken to the security office.

When 21-year-old Furlong was arrested, he claimed she had initiated the sexual contact. But on the day his trial was due to begin last month, he pleaded guilty to the single charge of sexual assault at the racetrack on the Bedfordshire/Northants border.

Furlong, of Swale Grove, Kings Norton, Birmingham, who is employed by the City Council, was jailed at Luton Crown Court.

Judge David Farrell QC told him: "There are serious concerns about your behaviour towards women. You were drunk at the time which made your behaviour unpredictable. This was a serious assault."

Stephen Crouch, defending said: "This was opportunistic and was of very short duration.

"He needs to have his attitude towards women changed, which could be done as part of a sex offender programme."

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