A LANDLORD who groped a woman — when she stopped by to tidy her friend's home while he was in hospital — has admitted sexual assault.

Michael Price, 59, of Ward Avenue, Cowes, pleaded guilty to the charge when he appeared at the Isle of Wight Magistrates Court on Friday.

The court heard Price owned a property in Northwood, and the tenant who lived there had been in hospital for a number of weeks.

Price was carrying out gardening work on the same day his tenant's friend had stopped by to tidy the flat.

In a victim impact statement, read in court by prosecutor Vivian Ducie, she said: "I had agreed to go and clean my friend's flat before he got out of hospital. The day before, I received a text from Michael telling me he would be joining me. I didn't mind as I had met him before and he seemed ok.

"Afterwards, I received a text from him asking if I would have time for coffee and 'maybe something more if you can keep it to yourself,' which I thought was odd.

"At around 10.15am I arrived at the flat, and put some music on whilst I cleaned.

"I turned around to see Michael at the kitchen window and I told him that he terrified me.

"He came in and I made him a cup of tea. After a while he put his cup on the side and placed his hands on my shoulders, rubbing them, telling me 'you can keep quiet.'

"Confused, I told him, 'no, I cant,' but he just kept telling me, 'yes you can.'

"He was so much taller than me. I kept saying 'no' until he eventually put his hand up my jumper.

"I felt panicked and I froze, I felt vulnerable and weak.

"Then he just turned around and declared that he was going to go cut the grass."

The court heard the victim called her friend in the hospital, keeping him on the phone as she ran out of the property.

Barry Arnett, defending, said: "At the time this offence was committed, it should be noted he had just found out his mum was going to be put on palliative care.

"He's let his wife down, he's let his two kids down, he's let himself down.

"But, at the end of the day, I can say this is a one-off and that you wont be seeing him in here ever again."

Price is due to be sentenced at same court on November 8.

UPDATE: On Friday, November 8, Magistrates sentenced Price to an 18-month community order, including 200 hours of unpaid work.

He was ordered to pay £1,000 compensation to the victim, court costs of £85 and a surcharge of £90.

He was also placed on the sex offenders' register for five years.


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