Man cleared of groping woman

AN Ipswich warehouseman who denied locking a woman in his home and groping her has been cleared by a jury.Russell Richards, of Samuel Court, was found not guilty at Ipswich Crown Court after standing trial on charges of false imprisonment, touching a woman inappropriately and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

AN Ipswich warehouseman who denied locking a woman in his home and groping her has been cleared by a jury.

Russell Richards, of Samuel Court, was found not guilty at Ipswich Crown Court after standing trial on charges of false imprisonment, touching a woman inappropriately and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Richards, 43, had earlier told the court that he had met the woman at the Fire and Ice bar in Ipswich on January 14.

They had left separately and he saw her again as he was walking home at about 4am.

After striking up a conversation with her he invited the woman, who he said appeared quite drunk, to his home to talk.

During the trial, Richards told the jury that once they were inside he locked the door to his flat because that was the only way to ensure the front door remained closed. He said he hung the keys up on a hook beside the door.

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The jury was told that after talking for about half an hour the pair kissed. Richards said there was an accidental clash of heads which resulted in the woman suffering a nose bleed.

He said she became distressed and was saying “What have you done?” but denied then touching her inappropriately.

After hearing closing submissions from the prosecution and defence yesterday, the jury cleared Richards of the charges.

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