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Wednesday, 23 July 2014

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Cumbrian motorist guilty of attacking man at seedy sex haunt

A traffic manager from Egremont, who kicked a man so hard he left a boot print on his face, believed he was protecting a woman from a rapist, a court heard.

William Clarkson photo
William Clarkson

William Clarkson admitted breaking three bones in Paul Cox’s face at Wisley car park off the A3, but told Guildford Crown Court he only did so because he believed the man was about to hurt Safina Butt.

But a jury found him guilty of causing grievous bodily harm and he has been warned to prepare for jail.

The 32-year-old had arrived at the car park late one night in April last year. He was travelling along the A3 from Kingston with his brother Glenn and had followed signs for a cafe, unaware that the area had a reputation for casual sex among strangers.

During a four-day trial, the jury heard that Mr Cox and Miss Butt had also travelled to the car park, which is regularly used for ‘dogging’, or public sex.

They had driven there from their homes in Essex but had argued in their vehicle. Mr Cox had punched Miss Butt in the face, splitting her lip and covering her in blood. She got out and ran across the car park screaming hysterically, before collapsing onto the ground sobbing in view of Clarkson, the court heard.

“When we pulled in we saw this woman cowering in the dirt, covered in blood and mud and with her hair and clothes all over the place,” Clarkson told jurors.

“There was this man, at least twice her size towering over her and shouting.

“She was crying and saying ‘Why did you hit me?’. Then the man reached out to grab her and was pulling her hair. All I could think was that I had to get him off her, I had to help her.”

Clarkson kicked Mr Cox in the face, causing him to fall backwards onto the floor.

Miss Butt told the court: “I thought he was dead because there was so much blood coming out of his face.”

Clarkson said: “I never wanted to harm the man. I thought the woman was in danger from him and I was just trying to help her.”

The defendant and his brother left the scene, but were identified after Miss Butt gave their car's registration plate to the police.

Prosecutor Graham Smith told the jury: “The defendant was not trying to protect Miss Butt at all. This was a deliberate case of retribution, of him meting out his own form of punishment.”

Judge Recorder Bernard Weatherill QC released Clarkson on unconditional bail while sentencing reports are prepared, but warned him to be ready for a jail term. “You have seen the injuries that he [Mr Cox] sustained and you must know that this offence is a serious one,” he told Clarkson.

“The circumstances in which it took place are thoroughly serious, and it appears that the jury found that you were not acting in defence, or that the force you used was excessive.”

Speaking after the case, Clarkson said: “It just feels so wrong. We did not go to that car park looking for trouble.

“All I wanted to do was protect that woman from the man who had hurt her, and now he is walking free while I am facing prison.”

Clarkson will be sentenced on March 16.

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