May 2012

Restaurant pervert spared prison term

A FORMER restaurant manager at Gatwick Airport who was found guilty of sexually assaulting two teenage girls has been spared jail.

David Hartwell was ordered to attend a sex offender programme for three years, given a 36-month supervision order and imposed with a six-month curfew when sentenced at Croydon Crown Court last Thursday.

The judge, Jeremy Gold QC, said the 26-year-old “deserved” a nine-month jail sentence, but added that there were concerns he would not be fully rehabilitated.

Hartwell, from New Malden, Surrey, was arrested in August 2010 after one of the victims told her sister she had been sexually assaulted at the airport, that he had exposed himself to her and asked her to perform a sex act on him.

Hartwell’s DNA was later found on the inside of the girl’s bra.

Following his arrest, police uncovered further allegations against him dating from September 2009 to August 2010, with five girls coming forward.

Last month, a jury returned guilty majority verdicts on two counts of sexual assault, each on a separate victim.

Hartwell, who has had to sign onto the Sex Offenders Register for five years, was found not guilty of a further nine counts of sexual assault and two of attempted sexual touching.

Jurors did not reach a decision on another count of sexual assault and that charge will lie on file.

Justice Gold also gave formal not guilty verdicts for another two counts of sexual assault during the trial.

The court heard last week that before the case went to trial Mr Hartwell had attempted to enter guilty pleas to five of the original 16 charges, but this was rejected.

When sentencing, Justice Gold said: “Mr Hartwell, this is a serious case I am afraid. You were 24 at the time of these offences and the two young women were much younger, being around 16 and 17.”

Justice Gold added that Hartwell was of previous good character.

“The sentence I believe you deserve is nine months imprisonment but I have to bear in mind what is the best way to ensure the attitude you currently have towards women, and young women in particular, is corrected.”

He added: “Many people would say you are fortunate. I want to deal with this in a way that is fair and generates the best likelihood that you won’t get into trouble again in the future.”

Hartwell’s curfew will run from 9pm until 6am and he will have to wear an electronic tag. He was also ordered to pay prosecution costs of £1,200.