Former town pastor Stephen Jay denies sexually assaulting teenager near Liquid nightclub in Ipswich Crown Court trial

Ipswich Crown Court

Ipswich Crown Court

A former town pastor charged with sexually assaulting a teenager in Ipswich appeared in court yesterday.

Stephen Jay, 56, of Wright Road, Kesgrave, appeared at Ipswich Crown Court after being charged with assault by penetration and sexual assault.

The jury was told that Jay has denied the two charges.

The charges relate to an alleged sexual assault on an 18-year-old woman near Liquid nightclub in Cardinal Park last year.

The court heard that the alleged victim and two 18-year-old friends met at a town centre bar between 10pm and 10.30pm on Monday, June 16.

Andrew Thompson, prosecuting, told the court that the three teenagers consumed “a lot of alcohol in a short period of time” and each took a Pro Plus caffeine pill.

He said the trio left the bar and arrived at Liquid shortly before midnight. He said two of them entered the nightclub but the woman who was allegedly sexually assaulted was denied entry as she was “considered too drunk” by door staff.

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She told her friends she would sober up and reattempt to enter Liquid, jurors heard.

She sat on a nearby kerb before lying down on the pavement and losing consciousness, Mr Thompson said.

He said when she woke up, a man sat next to her was helping her sit up. When she was then sick between her legs, the man pulled her hair back to help her avoid being sick on herself.

The court heard she was placed in a car some time later by a man and driven off to a location she cannot remember. She was lying across the back passenger seats of the car when the man pulled down her clothes and sexually assaulted her.

Giving evidence, the alleged victim said she remembers it being “really painful” and tried to stop him by kicking him. The man, who she said she did not know, then asked her to perform a sex act. The court heard she said “no no no” and “no, not today”.

The court heard she lost consciousness again, with her next memory being her friends getting into the vehicle. They were then driven to one of the friend’s home.

The woman said she cannot remember what the alleged perpetrator looks like, but said she remembers a “dark figure”.

She added: “I assumed it was an Asian man.”

Mr Thompson said Jay, a “significant” town pastor who was off-duty that night, “went into town pastor mode” after noticing the woman when walking towards a burger van after returning to Ipswich that night.

Mr Thompson said that Jay accepts that he offered the woman some water, placed her in his car and drove her to at least one location, before returning to the area near Liquid and driving the three women back to one of their homes.

Mr Thompson said that Jay categorically denies he did anything “inappropriate or sexually” and said the charges were not true.

A witness – one of the 18-year-old’s friends – also gave evidence. She said when she phoned the alleged victim shortly before 12.30am, the man who answered said “she is in the back of the taxi being sick”. She said she was “sure” the man spoke with an Indian accent.

Jay left his post as a town pastor in February, the court heard. The trial, expected to last three days, continues.

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