Drunken corporal gropes two women

PUBLISHED: 15:31 13 March 2008 | UPDATED: 21:24 31 May 2010

A DRUNKEN soldier who groped two women at a Saffron Walden pub was later found to have a Viagra tablet in his wallet, a court heard last Thursday. John Curphey, 28, of Carver Barracks, Wimbish, Saffron Walden, pleaded guilty at Chelmsford Crown Court to f

A DRUNKEN soldier who groped two women at a Saffron Walden pub was later found to have a Viagra tablet in his wallet, a court heard last Thursday.

John Curphey, 28, of Carver Barracks, Wimbish, Saffron Walden, pleaded guilty at Chelmsford Crown Court to five charges of sexual assault and two offences of assaulting a police officer with intent to resist arrest.

Judge David Turner QC told Curphey his behaviour had been "shameful, loutish and disgraceful" but he would impose a sentence, which would allow him to continue his career in the Army where he was "highly thought of" by senior officers.

Curphey was made the subject of a community order and placed under the supervision of a probation officer for six months.

He was also banned from civilian pubs for six months.

Curphey was fined a total of £500 for the assaults on police and ordered to pay £772 prosecution costs.

He was also ordered to pay £300 compensation to each of the two women he sexually assaulted.

Judge Turner told the Lance Corporal: "The compensation is not to put any sort of price on the unpleasantness of their experience and not to quantify to any degree whatsoever the impact on them of what you have done.

"It is simply nominally to mark the thoroughly unpleasant experience they have been through and punish you in a constructive way, which offers them some small solace."

Christine Hayes, prosecuting, said on August 19, 2006, a group of women friends went to The Queen Elizabeth pub in Saffron Walden where they spent the time dancing and chatting.

During the course of the evening Curphey approached one woman and put his hand between her legs and slid his hand across her bottom.

He twice slapped another woman across the bottom and later he approached her again and grabbed her breasts.

One woman was so concerned about his behaviour that she pushed Curphey outside the pub and police were called.

Officers found Curphey sitting on a wall and he swore at them and struggled with them as they tried to arrest him. As one officer struggled with Curphey they both fell back over the wall and the defendant tried to bite the officer.

Curphey was handcuffed and put in a car but on the journey to the police station he continued to struggle and threatened to kill the officers.

Defence counsel John Jones said Curphey was a conscientious soldier and "the Army seems particularly anxious to retain him." The offences would not have happened if he had not had far too much to drink. "He would seek to apologise to these women for his drunken behaviour," said Mr Jones.

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