Joe Holtham was jailed for three-and-a-half years for molesting the sleeping woman as his wife slept Sarah slept next to them following a wedding in Gloucestershire
A woman whose husband molested another woman as she slept next to them has reportedly pledged to stand by him.
Yesterday The Mirror reported that Joe Holtham was jailed for three-and-a-half years after groping the sleeping woman while in bed with wife Sarah.
The consultant, from Arden, Warwickshire, was sharing a room with his wife and three others at the Hunters Hall hotel in Gloucestershire following a wedding, because one of the couples had been unable to find their room key.
He was found guilty of assaulting the woman by a jury at Gloucester Crown Court.
He had originally been given a suspended sentence, but three appeal judges quashed that suspended sentence and imposed a prison sentence after Solicitor General Lucy Frazer mounted a challenge.
Holtham claimed during his trial that he mistakenly put his hand on the woman’s backside, thinking she was his wife.
A family member told The Sun that the couple are still “very much” together, saying: “There’s no animosity towards Joe.
“None whatsoever – and there never has been. We believe he is innocent.”
Holtham 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.
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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”.