A HOMELESS man has been found guilty of sexually assaulting a man as he walked to work in Bournemouth in 2012.
Martin Darrell Smith was also found guilty of attempting to sexually assault the same man on two other occasions, as well as a woman walking along the beach, at Bournemouth Magistrates’ Court yesterday.
The 26-year-old male victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said he had encountered Smith in Holdenhurst Road on two occasions during November 2012, prior to the actual assault.
On both occasions the 52-year-old defendant reached towards his groin, but on the first he and a friend he was walking to work with had laughed it off.
He told the court that on December 10 he was walking along Old Christchurch Road and crossed to the other side to avoid the defendant, but Smith then crossed towards him and reached out to touch his groin, making contact. I did have to physically force his arm away. I said ‘what do you think you’re doing’, but he just grunted and carried on walking,” he said.
Smith’s female victim, aged 33, was walking on the promenade at West Cliff during the morning of January 6, 2013, when he approached her.
“He had his hand outstretched and started to veer towards me,” she said in court.
“He didn’t look at my face at all, his eyes were fixed on my groin area and he got to within a couple of inches before I jumped out the way. It all happened so quickly.”
She said she felt “dirty” after the encounter, which had left her afraid to walk along the beach.
District Judge Stephen Nicholls also pronounced Smith guilty of common assault, after he attempted to grab 54-year-old Melanie Bezdel as she walked along East Cliff with her husband.
The couple said Smith had silently approached and reached around Mrs Bezdel in an apparent assault on December 30, 2012.
In the dock, Smith denounced all the charges as “total lies”, but said he couldn’t explain why his victims might have made the offences up.
Speaking for the defence after the verdict, Debra Scudamore said Smith was on benefits and had been homeless since 2009. He was released on unconditional bail to return to court for sentencing on February 24.