American who climbed into bed beside woman acquitted of sex assault charges

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An American who came to Northern Ireland to celebrate a double family Christening has been acquitted of two charges of sexually assaulting a young mum last year.

It took the Belfast Crown Court jury of six women and six men just over two hours to unanimously find the 36-year-old “Not Guilty” of the sexual assault with intent, and sexual assault by penetration on July 6 last year.

The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had always denied ever touching the woman after climbing into bed beside her, while he was “drunk and exhausted” following a day of celebrating.

The young mum had claimed she thought it was her partner who had climbed into bed beside her, and was shocked to discover that it was not him, but his American brother-in-law.

He had travelled to Northern Ireland along with his wife and baby daughter for the double family Christening. Following his arrest he maintained he never touched the woman, suggesting she was making up the allegation in an attempt to cause a family rift, or for some sort of financial gain.

During the week-long trial the jury were shown a video-tapped police interview in which the woman told how she was awoken by someone kissing and touching her, and only realised it was not her partner in bed beside her, when his brother-in-law spoke to her in his American accent.

However, the man who accepted he was “drunk and exhausted” at the time, said he had gone looking for somewhere to sleep. He went to the bedroom and got into bed not knowing there was anyone there. The next thing he remembered was a woman’s voice.