"I want to give hope to others": Sexual assault victim bravely gives up anonymity to speak out as attacker is jailed

"I want to give hope to others": Sexual assault victim bravely gives up anonymity to speak out as attacker is jailed

By Michael Upton | 30/07/2021

'I want to give hope to others': Sexual assault victim bravely gives up anonymity to speak out as attacker is jailed

A WOMAN who was sexually assaulted by a sleazy company boss as she slept has bravely spoken out about her three-year wait for justice — and hopes him being jailed will give faith to other victims.

Hannah Gregory (38, above) waived her right to lifelong anonymity to tell of her belief David Horton had sexually attacked other women before he groped her on an evening out and then assaulted her in her hotel room.

 

 

“I feel fairly sure that I’m not the only person he has done this to,” she said.

“I honestly believe there have been others before.

“I hope this might give them some peace. It might encourage other people to come forward, too.”

Horton (47, below), of Pembroke Street, Rotherham, was jailed for three years on Friday, having been convicted last month of four counts of sexual assault and one of assault by penetration.

Inner London Crown Court heard he had repeatedly touched Hannah’s bottom during a night out in the city in May 2018 with her and her friend, who was his girlfriend, before later trying to reach between her legs at two Soho pubs.

Judge Usha Karu said Horton had showed the women the sights and taken them to bars where he had “misjudged [Hannah’s] openness for an invitation for sexual intimacy” and taken advantage of her drinking by “touching and feeling”, which she had made clear she was unhappy with.

After going back to the women’s hotel room, which was against Hannah’s wishes, Horton sexually assaulted her while she slept.

She awoke at 2am to find him “breathing on my face, with something inside me” and her attacker “laughing”.

Hannah, whose Fitbit fitness tracker showed she had been in a deep sleep, said: “He claims he doesn’t remember anything, but I would dispute that greatly. He knew exactly what he was doing.”

Hannah, who lives near Lancaster, went to police a few days later after confiding in a friend.

She said staff at her local station initially turned her away and told her to call police in London as they were about to close for the night, but once City of London Police had become involved they had been “amazing”, particularly in piecing together CCTV to track what had happened.

Hannah said the fact Horton had still been convicted even though she had no forensic evidence to provide — having showered and changed clothes after the attack — should give others the confidence they too could achieve justice.

Hannah had to wait 18 months for Horton to be charged and almost three years before the case came to trial.

She suffers from PTSD, panic attacks and nightmares, and said the smell of male sweat still “hits somewhere in my subconscious”, but she is having counselling to cope with her ordeal.

Hannah added: “He needed someone to stand up against him. “I don’t think I’m the first it’s happened to, but I’m the first to take a stand.”

Explaining why she was happy to be named, mum-of-two Hannah said she wanted to help make talking about sexual assault less of a taboo and to move on with her life.

“It is about ownership that this has happened to me and I’m not ashamed of that,” she said.

“There is a stigma that talking about it is wrong, but I didn’t want to be someone who didn’t talk about it.

“I’ve always said as soon as the sentencing was over, I would have to move on. I can’t let him have any more impact in my life.”


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