Bingo caller groped woman at social club where he was committee member

The man's wife was in the club at the time of the incident.
Newcastle Crown Court. Photo: Google Maps.Newcastle Crown Court. Photo: Google Maps.
Newcastle Crown Court. Photo: Google Maps.

A bingo caller groped a woman's bottom as she bent over at a social club where he was a committee member.

Veteran Michael Lewis, 70, who raises funds for the Poppy Appeal and Help for Heroes, approached the victim from behind and grabbed her bum with both hands.

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Newcastle Crown Court heard the shocked woman immediately objected and Lewis, who had had a "couple of pints" and whose wife was in the club at the time, quipped: "You weren't saying that last night."

The woman said in a victim statement: "I am shocked he assumed he can touch me in this way and think that it's ok to do so."

She said she was left "depressed, emotional, weepy" and added: "I shouldn't be made to feel like this. I am angry this has happened to me. I should never have been made to feel like this."

Prosecutor Richard Herrmann told the court the woman had briefly bent over to do something in the Leam Lane Social Club in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, where Lewis was committee member and bingo caller.

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Mr Herrmann added: "The defendant approached her, grabbed her bottom, underneath her bum, on the bottom of her bum cheeks."

Mr Herrmann said Lewis was reported to the committee, was suspended and then the police became involved.

When questioned by the police Lewis said he had just "brushed past" the woman and there was no intentional sexual touching.

Lewis, of Brockwade, Leam Lane, admitted sexual assault.

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Christopher Knox, defending, told the court: "It has been a thoroughly humiliating exercise for him, a great deal of unpleasantness all round."

The court heard Lewis has a military background, receives an army pension and character references described the dad and grandad as a fund raiser for the Poppy Appeal and Help for Heroes as well as a "hard working, dedicated" man who is "polite and courteous".

Judge Robert Adams said Lewis should be "thoroughly ashamed of himself" and said what happened was "humiliating" for the victim.

Lewis was sentenced to a community order for 11 months with rehabilitation requirements and ordered to pay £1,200 compensation.