'This is not even close to being acceptable', sauna groper goes free (From St Albans & Harpenden Review)
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'This is not even close to being acceptable', man who groped woman in St Albans Fitness First sauna goes free
The husband of a woman who was sexually assaulted in a St Albans gym has voiced his “absolute disgust” that her attacker was let off with a police caution.
Police confirmed a man was arrested following the incident in Fitness First, in Christopher Place, on Sunday evening.
The woman, who must remain anonymous for legal reasons, was in the sauna at around 6pm when the attack happened.
Her husband said during the incident his wife’s leg was squeezed, her foot was kissed as well as other inappropriate touching.
Hertfordshire Constabulary said the caution was issued as the man, who admitted the offence, had no similar previous convictions, showed remorse, and was a foreign national facing deportation for other matters.
Following the caution, the husband said: “We were absolutely disgusted to hear he has been let off with a caution.
“We are appalled that a dumb ‘cost benefit analysis’ spreadsheet was used to determine whether to prosecute or not.
“My wife is scared to walk down the road to the shops by herself. If they only give a caution, what is the point in talking to the police in the first place? We want, and deserve, a full investigation. This time there is no such excuse not to prosecute because there is evidence.”
A caution is not a criminal conviction, but can be used as evidence of bad character in future court hearings.
After the attack the woman ran out of the sauna and an off-duty policeman, who happened to be at the gym, intervened.
The woman’s husband added: “We were both in complete shock. Luckily there was an off duty policeman who conducted a citizen’s arrest.”
Following the decision to issue the caution, spokesman for Hertfordshire Constabulary said: “We fully appreciate the victim’s position however, the decision to give a caution is not taken lightly and many factors have to be taken into account in the process, such as the nature of the offence, the offender’s previous convictions and their admission of the offence.
“In this case the use of a caution was considered to be the most appropriate resolution. The man made admissions, has shown remorse and is of previous good character. In regards to separate matters, he is to be deported.”
“The caution will remain on his police record and we shall ensure details of this case will be fed back to this individual’s home country.”
The husband has written to Hertfordshire Constabulary complaining about its decision.
In the letter he said: “We want this man prosecuted so he will be prevented from using gyms, swimming pools in future where he is clearly a danger to women and maybe children as well.
“It would also prevent him from being in and around St Albans so my wife can walk down the street without fear of meeting him again.
“A prosecution sends out the message that if something like this happens then call the police and let them deal with it. A caution sends out the message if something like this happens then get your mates together and wait for him outside because the police will just let him go.
“This is not even close to being acceptable.
“We would back this prosecution all the way to the court.”
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