A Sussex Police custody inspector allegedly told a woman as he sexually assaulted her “you’re saying no but I think you’re actually saying yes”, a court has heard.
On the first day of a trial at Hove Crown Court, jurors heard how Mike Sinden, 35, of Kinfauns Avenue, Eastbourne, pulled the woman, who was known to him, into an alleyway.
The pair were on a night out with friends in Eastbourne on March 10 2022, the court heard.
Prosecuting, Rachel Beckett told the court how the alleged victim said “no” several times as Sinden pushed her up against the wall and tried to kiss her, putting his hands up her dress and underwear after the pair went out of a club for a cigarette.
When other members of the group came out of the club, she told the defendant they were coming and walked out of the alleyway.
The court also heard that as the group were going to get taxis because the woman wanted to go home, Sinden walked up beside the woman and said: “Oh, do you hate me now?”
Sinden denies the charge of sexual assault by penetration and his alleged comments on that night.
In a prepared statement to police, Sinden also said sexual activity was “entirely consensual”.
The group had been drinking from 3pm at a couple of pubs in Eastbourne before heading to Eastbourne Cocktail Club for karaoke later in the evening where the alleged incident took place.
Following the night out, Sinden messaged the woman to say he hoped that she “didn’t feel bad” about the evening, to which she replied: “I don’t feel great about any of it, I’m trying to forget it. I definitely said no to you.”
In the messages also read out in court, Sinden responded: “Everyone was drunk and I won’t mention it again”.
In cross-examination, defence counsel Rebecca Upton suggested to the alleged victim that no penetration took place that night, but that the pair had consensually kissed.
She added that the woman had instead leaned up against the wall and had willingly gone with Sinden to an area – a car park rather than an alleyway – that could not be seen.
Ms Upton also said while the incident was consensual, the woman then regretted it and felt embarrassed by it, which led to her to make the complaint against Sinden, which the alleged victim denies.
The trial continues.
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