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Rugby player lifted cheerleader's skirt and fondled her in 'prank'

Published date: 10 June 2014 |
Published by: Staff reporter
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A UNIVERSITY rugby player has been ordered to pay a cheerleader compensation after lifting up her skirt on a drunken night out.

Andrew Bowles, 23, was dressed as a caveman when he played the “prank” on the young woman on the dance floor of Missoula Bar in Music Hall Passage, Chester, on October 16.

He then began to perform press-ups in front of his jeering pals, before allegedly receiving a kick to his private parts by his furious victim.

West Cheshire magistrates fined him £100 for the public order offence and  instructed him to pay the victim £120 compensation.

The Chester court heard the female student, who had joined team mates to venture out in their cheer-leading uniforms, had been deeply affected by the incident.

Prosecutor Marie Haydon said: “He [Bowles] said it was a prank. Well it wasn't a prank that this lady found very funny at all.

“It’s had a significant effect on her at university; it has affected her confidence. She doesn't like to go out at weekends now.”

Bowles, of Whipcord Lane, Chester, was originally accused of sexual assault, which he denied, but the charge was lowered to insulting or disorderly behaviour causing harassment or distress, to which he pleaded guilty.

The incident occurred during Freshers' Week when he and friends from the University of Chester’s rugby league team dressed as cavemen for a night out.

He had danced up to the young woman while his friends laughed and egged him on, the court heard.

“He lifted up her skirt and touched her in her crotch area,” Miss Haydon told the court yesterday. “She jumped away from him and told him not to do that.

“His friends were laughing and he went down on the floor and did some press-ups.”

The student confronted the lads, at which point another man threw beer on her, leaving her to head to the toilets in tears.

In a victim impact statement, read out in court, the young woman said: “I felt angry and upset about what had happened. I felt embarrassed.”

Miss Haydon told the court: “It's an incident that had a significant impact on this young lady. She wants the defendant to know this sort of behaviour is not acceptable.”

Philip Turner, defending, said Bowles had admitted lifting the cheerleader's skirt but never intended to grab her in any way.

“He is an industrious young man who is not in any way criminally motivated,” he said.

“He thought it was a great hoot at the time.

“The young lady kicked him in a place he didn't want to be kicked and some other idiot threw the contents of a glass of beer at her. My client did not know who that was.

“He made no attempt to avoid responsibility for his actions. On reflection he acknowledges how distressing and embarrassing it must have been for the victim.”

Besides the fine and compensation, Bowles, who has no previous convictions, was also ordered to pay costs of £85 and a victim surcharge of £20.

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