A coal and oil delivery man from Coleraine, who told a court he was a “ladies’ man”, has been found not guilty of sexually assaulting a customer in her home.
Steven Nutt (33), of Castletoodry Terrace, appeared at Coleraine Magistrates Court on Friday and denied sexually assaulting the woman after he delivered oil.
The woman told the court the defendant regularly delivered fuel to her home and and on the date in question in November 2017 she invited him into her house while she was getting money for the delivery.
She said she was making tea and made the defendant a cup and they sat and chatted in the kitchen.
She said Nutt asked her if she had a boyfriend and she said she did.
The woman described Nutt as being “flirty” and at one stage when a dog jumped onto his lap he told her he wished it was her.
She told the court she felt “uncomfortable” and walked out to the hall to open the door to get Nutt to leave as her son was due home from school.
The woman said Nutt then asked for a kiss and tried to kiss her several times even though she kept saying no and reminding him she had a boyfriend as she tried to pull away.
She alleged that Nutt then grabbed her bottom once and reached his hand round towards her ‘private area’.
The woman told Nutt he had to get out and he then left a £2 bag of sticks for her before leaving.
She contacted police.
She told the court: “I felt violated in my own home, a place where I’m meant to feel safe.”
Defence barrister Francis Rafferty said Nutt could perhaps be described as “cheeky chappy” and after engaging in “flirtatious banter” he asked the woman for a kiss and then “leaned in for a peck”.
Mr Rafferty claimed the woman eventually “proffered” her cheek and as a result of kissing her on the cheek as a “gentleman coalman” he gave her a free bag of sticks.
The woman told the court: “I think it was more guilt”.
The court heard the woman submitted her leggings to police for examination and none of Nutt’s DNA was found on them.
Mr Rafferty said there also was no mention of any “coal dust” being found on the clothing.
The woman said she didn’t think she would be sitting in court if it had been “playful banter”.
Nutt took the stand and said it was “no secret that I would be a ladies man” and “very flirty”.
After he had “banter” with the woman, “me being me” he attempted a kiss, said Nutt.
He said it was “complete nonsense” that he had sexually assaulted the woman.
Nutt said he left the £2 bag of sticks as he knew the woman kept a fire and he hadn’t noticed any sticks.
District Judge Peter King said he found the complainant a “very compelling witness” but the lack of DNA raised a reasonable doubt and he found Nutt not guilty.
However, he said it was “astonishing” that Nutt thought he could act inappropriately and be “boorish” in the home of a customer.
Meanwhile, Nutt pleaded guilty to possessing .18 of a gramme of cocaine on the date in question and was fined £300 on that charge.