A prison officer put his hand inside his female colleague’s bikini two times while at a summer pool party for HMP Wandsworth staff, a court has heard.
Joseph Dawson was seen by another prison officer and her husband placing his hand inside the top half of the drunken woman’s bikini and massaging her breast, before pushing his hand inside the bottom half of her outfit, the jury heard.
Croydon Crown Court also heard that his colleagues ‘headed Dawson off at the pass’ when he was seen pushing the woman, who was crawling on all fours, upstairs to the bedrooms.
The female prison officer had no memory of the incidents, having consumed three-quarters of a litre of vodka and shots at the party hosted by a colleague for mainly Echo Wing staff.
Dawson, 27, has pleaded not guilty on two counts of sexual assault between July 24 and 25, 2021.
Describing Dawson, the female prison officer said: ‘He was quite a touchy person, he was known for that, but not in a strange way. He would hug the girls and pick them up.’
Dawson, 27, has pleaded not guilty on two counts of sexual assault between July 24 and 25, 2021
She said she had purchased a variety of bikini’s for the party, telling the court: ‘He said that one was particularly nice and I should put it on.
‘I think he said something about my bum looking nice in it. I think he slapped my bum. I was not annoyed, but didn’t like him doing it’.
Recalling some of the later evening, she told the court: ‘I was drinking vodka, I think. I came with a bottle of vodka and I did not see it after that and it was only me drinking it.
‘The host, Jessica Thorpe, said: ‘Drink as much as you want. I have loads of spare rooms’, and that is why I drove there’.
Dawson claims that she consented to him touching her breasts while they were in the pool and spread her legs towards him, allowing him to touch her intimately.
As she was cross-examined, the prison officer, who was sobbing behind a screen to protect her identity, said: ‘I wouldn’t let him do that to me. I don’t think it happened’.
She also denied pushing her breasts into Dawson’s face when they returned to the patio.
Dawson says she consented to touching and allowed him to kiss her neck during the party. He admitted that he touched her breast in front of the couple, but that it was over her bikini.
Croydon Crown Court also heard that his colleagues ‘headed Dawson off at the pass’ when he was seen pushing the woman, who was crawling on all fours, upstairs to the bedrooms
Prosecutor Kathryn Hirst told the jury: ‘These were mostly all prison officers at the party at the home of a colleague, who had an overground pool in the back garden.
‘Everybody was enjoying themselves and having a good time and at various stages the complainant got into the pool and Mr Dawson got in the pool with her and picked her up and slapped her bottom, which she describes as playful.
‘He was very intent on her wearing a bikini and she was wearing a flimsy bikini and was entitled to do that and to have a good time.
‘She had a lot to drink and she was very, very drunk. She drank an awful lot and had northing to eat and was so drunk she has no recollection of what happened to her.’
At around midnight, Dawson and the woman sat on a two-seater outdoor couch on the patio opposite prison officer Vedan Bolaky, 41, and her husband Keith Sowerby, 63.
‘They noticed him putting his hand down her bikini top and massaging her breast and then putting his hand down her bikini bottom,’ Ms Hirst said.
‘They made eye contact and he quickly removed his hand. Shortly afterwards the complainant is seen on all fours being pushed upstairs by this defendant and some of the female guests ‘headed him off at the pass’ and made sure nothing happened.’
When the woman’s prison officer colleagues told her what happened the next day, she reported Dawson to the police.
Dawson, of St. Catherines Court, Rosefield Road, Staines-upon-Thames made no comment when questioned.
The trial continues.