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Warwickshire man jailed for sex assault after original sentence deemed too lenient

THE solicitor general has intervened in the sentence of a Henley man who was convicted of sexual assault, resulting in a three-and-a-half-year prison term.

Joe Holtham, 33, of Stratford Road, was originally sentenced to 24 months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, at Gloucester Crown Court in June of this year.

Following the court’s decision, Lucy Frazer MP referred the case to the Court of Appeal under the Unduly Lenient Sentence scheme.

On 20th August, the court found his sentence had been lenient and Holtham was given an immediate prison sentence.

After the hearing, Ms Frazer said: “This was a shocking assault that has traumatised the victim. I am glad the Court of Appeal has increased his sentence and I hope this brings the victim some comfort.”

Holtham, a recruitment consultant, was convicted of assaulting his victim following a wedding on 11th April, 2019, near Tetbury in Gloucestershire.

He and a group of friends had returned to their hotel where they had booked multiple rooms, but decided to all sleep in the offender’s room after two of the room keys could not be found.

While the woman was asleep beside him, Holtham sexually assaulted her, causing her to wake up.Once she became aware of what was happening, she tried to wake another guest and fled to the bathroom.

The next day, the missing keys were found in Holtham’s pocket.

Holtham had denied the charges at the trial in May and had told the jury he touched the woman’s bottom thinking it was his wife, who had been sleeping on the other side of him.

On 7th May, Holtham was convicted of two counts of assault by penetration and was sentenced on 15th June.

At the time his lawyer, Michael Hunt, described Holtham as being of previous good character, and stressed that his business would be at risk if he were sent to prison.

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