Joe Holtham, 33, was sharing a hotel room with his wife Sarah and three others when the attack took place, because one of the couples had been unable to find their room key after the wedding reception
A wedding guest who walked free after molesting a sleeping woman while his wife was on the other side of the bed has been jailed for more than three years following an appeal.
Joe Holtham, 33, has been handed prison sentence of three years and six months after Solicitor General Lucy Frazer mounted a challenge.
The consultant from Arden, Warwickshire, was sharing a room with his wife Sarah and three others at the Hunters Hall hotel on the night in question, because one of the couples had been unable to find their room key after the Gloucestershire wedding.
He went to bed with his wife to his right and another woman to his left. A third woman was on the far right, The Sun reported.
The third woman’s partner was sleeping on the floor, Gloucester Crown Court was told.
Holtham had continued to deny groping the woman next to him as she slept, insisting he only touched her when he mistakenly put his hand on her behind, thinking she was his wife.
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However, a jury found him guilty of assaulting the woman.
He had originally been given a suspended sentence by a judge at Gloucester Crown Court, but three appeal judges have now quashed that suspended sentence and imposed a prison sentence after Solicitor General Lucy Frazer mounted a challenge.
Barrister Joel Smith, who represented Ms Frazer, argued that not enough weight had been given to the fact the woman was asleep, and therefore particularly vulnerable, when the assault began. Appeal judges agreed.
They heard the assault had taken place while Holtham shared a hotel bedroom with a group of people, including the woman and his wife, after attending a wedding in Tetbury, Gloucestershire, more than two years ago.
Holtham had denied allegations made against him. He said he had thought he was touching his wife – and had stopped when he realised it was not.
Lawyers representing him argued that the appeal against the sentence should be dismissed.
Judges said the victim could not be identified in media reports of the case.
Lord Justice Males, Mrs Justice O’Farrell and Sir Roderick Evans, who considered the case at a Court of Appeal hearing in London on Friday, have imposed a prison sentence of three years and six months.
Ms Frazer welcomed the ruling.
“This was a shocking assault that has traumatised the victim,” she said.
“I am glad the Court of Appeal has increased his sentence today and I hope this brings the victim some comfort.”
Recorder James Waddington had imposed a two-year jail term, suspended for two years, at a hearing in Gloucester Crown Court in June, after Holtham had been convicted of “assault by penetration”.