A FORMER pub landlord who once served behind bars is today waking up behind them after he was jailed for sexually attacking three women.
A jury at Preston Crown Court convicted Gary Bell of sexually assaulting the victims despite the defendant claiming all three were lying.
The unemployed 48-year-old was found guilty of all six charges of sexual assault against him following a trial.
And Judge Graham Knowles QC opted to sentence him immediately to 18 months in prison following the conclusion of the case yesterday – telling Bell that an immediate prison sentence had to follow.
During the trial, Richard Haworth, prosecuting, said Ball had pinched the bottom of a woman in her 30s and went on to ask her about her sex life.
He became more explicit, and then suggested they have sex.
On the same date, the court heard he touched a 16-year-old girl indecently.
But when interviewed by police, Ball, who was the licensee at the Strawberry Gardens’ Pub in Fleetwood, told detectives the women were telling lies about him.
Mr Haworth told the court: “The defendant simply couldn’t leave sexual offending alone.”
The third charge related to a woman in June last year. Ball told police he had behaved perfectly properly.
When questioned early last year following the first two females’ allegations he claimed they had “got their heads together” to come up with a story.
Ball claimed they had also made things up against him and the allegations were false.
He said in answer to one police question: “None of that happened, that’s for sure”. He was later arrested again and allegations put to him regarding a third woman. He said her account was a “pack of lies”.
The prosecution said the defendant could not have reasonably thought the women were consenting.
Mr Haworth added: “The defendant says ‘absolute rubbish’. The first two have fabricated malicious lies against him.
“He says the third female is a liar and making it up.”
Mr Haworth also told the jury “There is a head on collision between what the complainants say on the one hand and what the defendant says on the other hand.
“He says lightening has struck three times. The Crown says this is a man who simply cannot keep his hands to himself.”
And when he took to the witness stand, Ball persisted with his claims of innocence to the jury.
He responded “no” when asked by his barrister Gerard Doran if the alleged incidents – dating to December 2009 – had happened.
But the jury disagreed and convicted him of all six charges against him.
Ball will remain on the sex offenders register for ten years.
n The Strawberry Gardens now has a new licensee.