A County Down man who “picked on a young vulnerable girl” who was intoxicated and asleep on a public bench before sexually assaulting her has avoided prison.
Gary Peter Carvill, of Tamnaharry Hill, Mayobridge, appeared before Newry Crown Court charged with sexual assault and theft stemming from one incident in the early hours of August 1, 2022.
The 37-year-old, who himself was intoxicated on the night in question, was observed by police swaying through oncoming traffic in Rostrevor before sitting down on the opposite end of a public bench, where an 18-year-old female appeared to be asleep.
A few minutes later they were both observed by police still on the same bench, this time, as if both were asleep, not interacting with each other in any way.
At approximately 12.40am, police on another circuit of the village saw Carvill sitting beside the complainant. She was slumped back in the bench with both hands down by her sides and her head falling back.
Police said she appeared to be leaning on the part of the bench. He was then seen kissing her. One police officer, who witnessed the incident, described it as “aggressively kissing her with an open mouth”.
Police then witnessed the defendant unbutton her jeans whilst continuing to kiss her. He then placed his left hand down the front of her jeans while he was kissing her and putting his hand inside her jeans. The teenage girl was not reacting or moving at all.
Police sounded the horn and put down the window, attempting to shout to catch Carvill’s attention, however, he didn’t react.
The police began to exit the vehicle and it was at this point he removed his hand and stopped kissing the complainant. When he did so, the young female’s head fell forwards, “as if she was either fully asleep or completely unconscious”.
Police struggled to waken the complaint and had to physically shake her for about 10 seconds before gaining any reaction and it took several minutes before she became in any way coherent.
Police noted the top button of her jeans was still open. When she began to come around she confirmed that she did not know the defendant and didn’t consent to any form of contact with him.
She then noted her mobile phone was missing. Carvill was asked about its whereabouts but denied any knowledge of knowing where it was, however, police found it in his left hand trouser pocket.
When he was arrested he said, ‘how do I make this go away quickly’ and ‘I f****d up, you know I’m drunk. Have you ever been drunk?’
In interview he denied any wrongdoing. He admitted being under the influence of alcohol but he claimed after not being able to find a taxi was going to walk when he met and started talking to the complainant who was previously completely unknown to him.
He claimed he asked her if he could kiss her to which she agreed and that kissing was consensual with her kissing him back. He had no recollection of opening her jeans or putting the mobile phone in his pocket.
He presumed the complainant gave him her phone for him to hold.
His Honour Judge Gordon Kerr KC, in his sentencing remarks, said: “There is no victim impact report in the case, however, it’s clear that this must have been a very upsetting incident for this young lady. The defendant accepts now that he was not telling the truth when he suggested that there had been any interaction between them of a voluntary nature.”
He added: “He picked on a young vulnerable girl, knowing clearly that she was much younger than he was.”
The judge alluded to a report from his employer which described Carvill as a person “highly thought of” and someone who is “normally considered to be pleasant, funny, honest and reliable”.
Carvill was handed a 12 month sentence but accepted the offer of an enhanced combination order, meaning a period of probation for two years, coupled with 80 hours of community service.
He was also handed a five-year restraining order against the victim.