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Liverpool Echo
Liverpool Echo
Gemma Bradley

Stranger stuck his hand down woman's top in Mathew Street bar

A man reached underneath a woman’s top “without any warning” in a bar on Mathew Street, a court has heard.

Niall Bell appeared at Liverpool Magistrates Court on Monday after pleading guilty to one count of sexual assault of a female. Jack Child, prosecuting, detailed that the victim was with a friend on a night out at Sgt Peppers on Mathew Street, in May last year.

She came out of the bathroom to see her friend talking to two men, and joined them. While the group were talking, Bell approached the victim and “without any warning” placed his hand down her top and grazed her nipple.

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The 43-year-old then walked away up the stairs without saying anything. Mr Child said the victim was initially angry at the two men she had been speaking to, believing Bell was with them.

However they denied this, and she realised he was not. Mr Child said: “She described that it dawned on her what had just happened, and she had a breakdown, cried and hyperventilated.”

The victim went outside and spotted two police officers so told them what had just happened. The officers identified Bell from CCTV footage and he was located and taken to Wirral custody suite later the same day.

He was interviewed and told police he had been on a stag do at Chester Races, and been drinking mostly pints of lager plus some vodka shots all day. Bell said he had no idea what the interview was in relation to, was not sure when he left Chester and came to Liverpool, and had no prior knowledge of the victim.

The dad-of-one initially denied the offence, but when shown the CCTV accepted he had committed the offence and said he was disgusted. In an interview, he said: “I am disgusted by that, this is not me, I do not do this.

“I don’t know why this happened.” Bell has no previous convictions.

Eileen Chisnall, defending, said her client has shown genuine remorse and wanted to write a letter to the victim to apologise for his behaviour. She said he has his own electrical business, where he employs seven people and is the main breadwinner for his wife and 16-month-old baby.

Ms Chisnall said Bell did not originally tell his wife about this offence, but she is now aware and was disappointed, but maintains this was out of character. After his admission, Ms Chisnall detailed that Bell said he could not stop thinking about if the same thing had happened to his wife, and he has cut back on drinking.

Bell, of Grove House, County Kildare, Ireland, was handed a 12 week prison sentence suspended for 12 months, and was ordered to pay a £1,300 fine, plus compensation of £100. He was also told to pay a victim surcharge of £130 and court costs of £120, and he is subject to notification requirements for 7 years.


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