Sat, 04 Aug 2018
A NEWBURY woman was filmed committing a drunken sex act on a stranger on a train.
The incident, at Aldermaston station, was witnessed by a horrified 16-year-old girl who alerted police.
The culprit, Amanda Barrow, said she was so drunk she had no recollection of the brief encounter, but turned herself in after recognising herself from CCTV images circulated by police.
Despite going to the police station voluntarily, 43-year-old Ms Barrow, who lives at Shaw Road, subsequently denied outraging public decency by engaging in sexual activity in public on June 28 last year.
But on Tuesday, July 28, she changed her plea and admitted the offence.
Steve Molloy, defending, suggested it would have been more appropriate for his client to have received a police caution rather than being publicly shamed in court.
District judge Sophie Toms heard evidence from Mr Molloy and his colleague Mike Davis to determine whether the correct procedure for a prosecution had been followed – and then determined that it had.
Mr Molloy, mitigating for Ms Barrow, said his client had been “extremely embarrassed by the public humiliation” following the police witness appeal in which CCTV images of her and a stranger were widely circulated.
He compared the witness appeal to “being in the stocks and having rotten vegetables thrown at one”, adding: “It’s certainly not something she would do if she was sober.”
The court also heard how Ms Barrow, a full-time cleaner, had resorted to regular binge drinking after a relationship breakdown with a former partner.
Mr Molloy said she had successfully completed rehabilitation treatment at Swanswell in Newbury and assured district judge Toms: “This isn’t likely to happen again.”
He concluded by suggesting Ms Barrow had suffered enough and suggested a conditional discharge would be an appropriate sentence.
But Ms Toms told her: “I don’t agree with your barrister that you’ve had enough punishment.
“It’s also about reform and rehabilitation.”
She said she would give “some” credit for Ms Barrow’s eventual guilty plea and added: “I’m pleased you’ve not had a drink since.”
And she highlighted the distress suffered by the “child” who witnessed the incident, stating: “She was a child. There was some effect upon her – and that is the main point of the case.
“There must be some punishment.”
Ms Barrow was made subject to a 12-month community order with requirements that she complete 120 hours unpaid community work and 15 days of rehabilitation activity.
In addition, she was ordered to pay £385 costs, plus a statutory victim services surcharge of £85.