THE business partner of a Blackpool hotelier and TV star has been jailed after being found guilty of sexually assaulting a guest.
Jeffrey Hewitt – who set up Barry’s Hotel with actress Alice Barry famed for her role in cult Channel 4 comedy Shameless – was today waking up behind bars.
The 58-year-old assaulted a male guest as he slept at the Charnley Road hotel.
Preston Crown Court heard the victim – who was one of about 15 people on a stag weekend in the resort last July – ended up feeling “physically sick and dirty” because of the experience.
The court was told Hewitt got in between two men who were staying in the room and began to molest one of them.
Hewitt claimed he had no recollection of the incident when challenged, but a jury did not believe him.
He was jailed for a year and placed on the Sex Offender’s Register for 10 years after being found guilty of one charge of sexual assault.
Judge Heather Lloyd said Hewitt took advantage of the fact the victim, who he knew, was drunk and fast asleep.
She said: “I can completely understand his anger and outrage and distress. He felt physically dirty and sick.
“You and everybody else should understand the fact a male touching another male is no different to a male touching a female in the same sort of circumstances.”
Amanda Johnson, prosecuting, said the victim slept in the bed with another man after a problem with room reservations. Hewitt, who had his own private quarters, ended up staying in that room as well.
The prosecution said the victim woke up and felt someone laying behind him. It was then the assault took place.
Miss Johnson added: “He (the victim) told others on the stag party. It was treated, it seems, as something of a joke between the men over the weekend. On later returning home the man reported the matter to the police.”
Hewitt denied the accusation, insisting he had been sat on the bed, not in it and had not been near the man.
Philip Andrews, defending, said Hewitt had no recollection of what happened because of drink.
He said: “This was a wholly unplanned offence. He had not inveigled his way into the room or manipulated a situation to be in that room. What took place could only have lasted a matter of seconds.
“The defendant was upset and troubled by all of this. He was in sack cloth and ashes about the whole situation, in respect of the way things had unfolded.”
Hewitt has been a visible presence at the hotel since it was opened and has been involved in many charity events.