Belfast Telegraph

Stalker who assaulted woman in Dunadry Hotel loses appeal over jail term

By Paul Higgins

A Co Antrim man who twice sexually assaulted a woman having stalked her to her hotel room has had his four-month jail term affirmed.

Despite his claims that the attacks in the Dunadry Hotel were impulsive, Judge Melody McReynolds said it was her view that the actions of 34-year-old William McAdam were actually "quite contrived".

The judge told an Antrim County Court appeal hearing: "It's clear that he was targeting a working woman staying in a hotel where she was entitled to feel safe."

Affirming the sentence originally imposed by District Judge Peter King last July, Judge McReynolds said that having dealt with sex offences "in excess of 30 years... I'm satisfied not only that the custody threshold is passed but that the most effective deterrent for this man is a period of custody".

At an earlier hearing McAdam, from Ballymena Road in Doagh, pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual assault and one of trespassing into a hotel room at the Dunadry Hotel with intent to commit sexual assault on September 3 last year.

A prosecuting lawyer told the court the woman had checked into the hotel and was going into her room when McAdam followed her in.

He took his T-shirt off but didn't answer when the woman repeatedly asked what he was doing and they both left the room.

The lawyer said the woman went back into her room but "within seconds" there was a knock at the door and when she answered it, McAdam was there claiming to be from room service. He initially went in to the bathroom and then started to fix the bed, but then he reached out "and grabbed her left breast".

She pushed him away but he grabbed her other breast and when she pushed him away again "he grabbed her around the waist and said that he wanted to have sex with her".

The terrified victim ran from the room but McAdam "pressed her to the wall" and only let go when she screamed for help.

McAdam was arrested a week later when hotel staff spotted him again. He refused to answer the majority of police questions.

However, the court heard that during one exchange, when officers asked McAdam what he thought when the woman pushed him away, he told police: "It made me more determined to touch her again, so I tried to do it again."

In court yesterday defence counsel Aaron Thompson conceded it was a serious case with "a number of concerning features".

But he argued that the best way to deal with it from a sentencing point of view, was with probation intervention and supervision.

He argued that given it was McAdam's first offence, coupled with his mental health problems, protection of the public would best be achieved through statutory help to "deal with the underlying causes" of the offence and "tackle head-on" McAdam's issues, which would lessen the likelihood of further offences.

He further submitted if that did not work and McAdam reoffended "he will be back before you and then he will certainly deserve to go to jail".

However, jailing McAdam, and also affirming the seven-year Sexual Offences Prevention Order, Judge McReynolds said she had no doubt his victim will have been "left with feelings of insecurity when she travels for business in the future".

She said McAdam's targeting of the vulnerable woman was "compounded compounded by his total lack of empathy".

Affirming also that McAdam must sign the police sex offenders register for seven years, the judge said she felt the best way to protect the public was to jail him.

Belfast Telegraph

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