Ex-charity shop worker claimed nightclub sex assault was ‘only flirting’

PUBLISHED: 16:35 19 December 2019 | UPDATED: 16:49 19 December 2019

Jake Bignell was sentenced at Suffolk Magistrates' Court  Picture: GREGG BROWN

Jake Bignell was sentenced at Suffolk Magistrates' Court Picture: GREGG BROWN

A former charity shop worker told police he was “only flirting” after sexually assaulting a woman outside a nightclub.

Jake Bignell was ordered to carry out unpaid work and pay compensation to the woman he sexually assaulted outside the Ipswich venue in September.

The 26-year-old, of York Road, was sentenced by magistrates on Wednesday after admitting the offence at an earlier hearing.

A woman in her 30s was sitting on a wall outside KC's Bar and Nightclub when Bignell approached.

Without consent, he unzipped the woman's top, placed his hand inside her bra and squeezed her right breast.

The court heard how Bignell responded to the woman's immediate alarm by saying: "It's alright because I'm gay."

Prosecutor Colette Harper said Bignell then invited the victim to redress the assault by punching him in the face.

When door staff intervened and handed him over to the police, Bignell told officers: "I was only flirting."

Mrs Harper said: "This was an unprovoked, extremely inappropriate assault on a vulnerable woman."

In a statement read to the court, Bignell's victim said the confidence she already lacked had been "seriously knocked" and that she had struggled to leave the house following the incident.

"I'm constantly looking out, worrying that any man could do this to me," her statement read.

Jo Paton, mitigating, said Bignell had no previous convictions and had entered a guilty plea at the earliest opportunity.

"The victim said he was very remorseful and asked her to punch him because he realised immediately he had done something wrong," she added.

"He has done something really out of character.

"Alcohol seemed to have acted as a disinhibitor."

The court heard that Bignell had voluntarily quit his job in a charity shop and had moderated his alcohol intake to almost nil.

Magistrates called the incident "unpleasant, unnecessary, and extremely distressing for the victim".

Bignell was handed a 12-month community order, with 100 hours of unpaid work and 30 days of rehabilitation activity requirement. He must also pay his victim £200 compensation and sign the sex offenders' register.

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