shocked | 

Tyrone man pleads guilty to sex assault after stag party ‘groping joke went badly wrong’

Gallagher claimed he only became aware when he woke in the custody suite and could not remember anything because he was so drunk

Stock photo© Getty Images

Lynda RoughleyBelfast Telegraph

A Co Tyrone man has pleaded guilty to sexual assault after a groping joke during a stag party trip to Liverpool "went badly wrong”.

The incident occurred while Tyrone Gallagher (29) was staying in a Travelodge in the city.

Gallagher, of New Street, Clady, pleaded guilty to the charge on October 8, 2021.

Liverpool Magistrates’ Court heard that Gallagher decided to go back to the hotel on his own around 10pm during the stag trip.

He had to ask the female receptionist to remind him of his room number.

Ten minutes later he returned bare foot and said he had locked himself out of his room.

The receptionist’s male colleague gave him another key card and she said she would walk him to his room “as he was clearly very drunk”.

When they reached his floor, they got out of the lift and, as they walked along the corridor, she realised she was slightly ahead of Gallagher and felt his hand on her left buttock.

He squeezed and she said, “Oh, my God,” and he started laughing.

“The victim was shocked and upset and crying uncontrollably,” said the prosecutor.

“He was interviewed and said he had absolutely no recollection of the incident or immediately afterwards.”

Gallagher claimed he only became aware when he woke in the custody suite and could not remember anything because he was so drunk.

The court was also told Gallagher has a previous conviction in Northern Ireland for assault.

Defence counsel Phil Lieb said that Gallagher had “decided he had had enough and would go back [to the hotel] and go to bed. The next thing, he woke up in custody.”

He said that Gallagher suffers from chronic schizophrenia and, a few weeks earlier, he had lost his mum very suddenly, which devastated him and his family.

In the “cold light of day” he acknowledged that the victim had been assisting him and he had caused her distress.

Imposing a 12-month community order, District Judge James Clarke said Gallagher was not a sexual predator.

“It was a joke that went badly wrong,” stated the judge.

Gallagher was ordered to carry out 15 days’ rehabilitation activities and 100 hours’ unpaid work.

He also has to pay the victim £300 compensation and sign the sex offenders register for five years.

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