Devon

Wilko supervisor sexually assaulted woman at store

Wilko sign
Image caption The court heard the assault had destroyed the woman's confidence

A supervisor for high street chain Wilko groped a woman in a store then told her "I'm a dirty old perv," a court has heard.

Nigel Rowse, 59, put his hand on the woman's bottom and between her legs and told her he was in love with her.

Rowse, of Umberleigh, Devon, admitted sexual assault and received a five-month jail sentence, suspended for two years.

His victim said the assault had "destroyed her confidence".

'He had problems'

Rachel Drake, prosecuting at Exeter Crown Court, said Rowse had touched the woman in the firm's store in the city in May last year.

She said the woman jumped and told Rowse to stop but he returned a short time later and repeated his behaviour.

"She told him he had problems and he replied 'I'm a dirty old perv and they ought to put something in my tea,'" said Miss Drake.

A disciplinary inquiry led to Rowse being sacked and the police being informed.

In a victim impact statement the woman said the assault made her feel like "a totally different person" and had caused her stress and anxiety.

Warren Robinson, defending, said the incident and its consequences had forced Rowse to reassess his behaviour and attitudes towards women.

Recorder Donald Tait told Rowse the stress he caused was "serious and significant".

"The woman felt unable to confide in anyone and felt trapped," Mr Tait said.

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