Charity worker forced to sign Sex Offenders’ Register after gyrating hips in woman’s face on Manchester night out

A middle class house-husband has been ordered to sign the Sex Offender Register after he got drunk and gyrated his hips in a woman’s face during a ‘laddish prank’ in a Manchester city centre bar.

Ex-Royal Naval weapons expert Jonathan Evans, 50, grabbed the woman’s head and pushed her into his crotch to simulate oral sex after he asked her to bend down to pick up a train ticket.

As she broke free Evans laughed and said: ‘You’re my favourite kind of woman – gullible’.

On the same evening the married father of two who was a volunteer for the Barnardo’s charity also groped the woman’s bottom while she was at the bar of the Wetherspoons pub in Manchester.

The victim did not complain on the night of the assault but subsequently went to police and described feeling ‘stupid, gullible and worthless’.

 Evans was later suspended from the charity where he volunteered as a project worker helping young homeless people in between doing the school run.

He subsequently later claimed the incident was all just ‘boisterous horseplay’, harking back to laddish behaviour from his years serving in the Navy.

 At Manchester Crown Court, Evans, from Ramsbottom, sobbed as a female judge told him he had escaped jail ‘by a whisker’ after he was convicted of sexual assault at an earlier hearing.

He had called character witnesses including a BA pilot, research scientist and a teacher to testify he was a ‘pillar of their community’ and a ‘really decent man’.

Judge Lindsey Kushner QC told him: “I have had so many references and letters of support and I don’t think I have had a trial with so many. They say whatever you are accused of doesn’t fit the man they know.

“All these people say what you were accused of is out of character. But as we do now know: there is another side to Jonathan Evans, which they have not born witness to.

 “I can’t emphasise enough that when people like you indulge in such conduct, even if you regard it as mild or funny, it is up to the recipient to decide whether that conduct is acceptable or not.

“The problem is that in this situation it is often the recipient that feels they are in the wrong if they are made to feel uncomfortable.

 ”They have to think, ‘am I making a fuss about nothing?’ they are made to feel it is their fault because they are lacking a sense of humour and failing to see the funny side.

 “When I came to this courtroom I came ready and prepared to send you to prison. I can do so without losing one minute’s sleep as a result.

 ”Although I think you probably deserve a prison sentence I’m going to air on the side of hopefully instilling some rehabilitation. I think this has really hit you hard, because you are egotistical.  I think you need to show you are a worthy man and you are not. You have escaped prison by a whisker.”

 The court heard Evans had been an engineer but when he was made redundant he agreed to become a stay at home dad so his wife could pursue her career in teaching. He later becoming involved in running a local rugby club for youngsters and began volunteering at Rachel House, a Barnado’s supported accommodation project for homeless young people in Bury.

 But trouble began during a night out in July 2013 when Evans got drunk during a night out and picked on the woman whilst waiting to get a train home. 

Prosecutor Gavin Howie said: “At some point the defendant appears to have indicated a ticket on the floor. He invited her to pick it up. She did bend to pick it up where Mr Evans took hold of the back of her head, thrust his groin in her face and simulated oral sex with her.

“She describes it as humiliating and degrading. There was another incident a short while he put his hand behind her and penetrated her anus with his finger. He accepts there was some boisterous horseplay and the first incident was a laddish prank.”

 In interview the woman said:  “He grabbed the back of my head by the hair and pushed my face in his private parts and started moving. I couldn’t get up. I was probably only down there a couple of seconds but it felt a lot longer.

“I was angry and embarrassed and ashamed. He’d done it front of people, and just the fact he thought it was alright to do that. I remember being angry at myself for being upset.”

 Describing the second attack she said: “I remember he did it with a lot of force and that it was painful. It sounds really stupid, but he did it quite fast and in exactly the right place – I remember thinking, how did he know it was there?

“I was blaming myself for being stupid and decided to get really, really drunk, and it was more or less the day after I was just, really, really upset.”

 In court Evans showed jurors the ‘forward thrusting motion” he used to play his prank but insisted: “It was a stupid, laddish, impulsive thing – I went ‘wahey’ and I may well have put my hand on her head or her neck, I certainly didn’t grab her hair. I lurched forward towards her face.

 “It was not meant in any way as a sexual assault – I would never do that. It was meant as a stupid prank on a night out with someone I thought would have just laughed it off. I bitterly regret what I did. I’m sorry for what I did and I’m sorry that I have caused my poor wife to suffer.”

The court heard he was given a ‘final written warning’ by the charity following a disciplinary hearing. Evans was given a three-year community rehabilitation order and was ordered to sign the sex offenders’ register for five years and must pay a £60 victim surcharge

In mitigation his counsel Miss Katie Jones said: “He is of exemplary good character. He is a man who is now 50 years old and has really impressed people with his kind, caring and compassionate nature.

“A conviction of this type on a man of previous exemplary good character has been a ruination of the family reputation. The conviction has already had a catastrophic effect on his family.”

Story via Cavendish Press.

Image courtesy of Nolene Dowdall, with thanks.

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