Former Eversheds trainee accused of raping law student at house party

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By Thomas Connelly on

Ex-rookie solicitor, who was suspended following his arrest, also on trial for allegedly sexually assaulting a second woman at same gathering

A former City trainee solicitor is on trial accused of raping a law student during a house party before sexually assaulting another female guest while she slept on a sofa.

Tom Hagyard was only a few weeks into his training contract at Eversheds Sutherland when the alleged incidents in 2017 are said to have occurred.

Eversheds confirmed to Legal Cheek that it immediately suspended Hagyard following his arrest, and that he did not resume his position before leaving the firm in June 2018.

The 29-year-old — who earlier in the evening had treated his family to a celebratory dinner with his first pay check — attended the party in Fulham, West London, along with some of his new colleagues.

During the early hours of the morning, the Mail Online reports Hagyard is alleged to have raped the law student, who was in her 20s, while she was passed out on her bed, before going on to touch another woman, also in her 20s, underneath her bra while she slept on a sofa.

The former trainee denies five counts of rape and sexual assault.

In video-recorded evidence, the law student told Isleworth Crown Court that she had consumed wine, prosecco and vodka throughout the evening which led to her becoming “nine or ten out of ten drunk”.

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“We got very drunk and I don’t remember a lot”, the woman said. “I took myself to bed and I woke up and there was a boy sort of on top of me”. The law student added how she had tried to “push him away” and that at one point “he was on top of me and I was in pain”.

But Hagyard claimed the party’s host invited him to sleep in the woman’s bed and that “she immediately rolled towards me and kissed me”. He described her as “willing and enthusiastic” and that although consensual sexual activity took place, this did not lead to full sex and he remained fully-clothed throughout.

Addressing the second alleged incident, Hagyard claimed he was invited onto to the sofa by the woman and massaged her chest, at one point from underneath her top. “She seemed to be enjoying it and breathing pleasurably”, he told jurors.

The second complainant later texted friends to say she had been “sexually assaulted” and messaged the host of the party claiming Hagyard had been “literally sucking on my earlobe”.

When the host challenged Hagyard over his alleged behaviour, he is said to have responded: “It was a drunken, stupid mistake and I can’t say sorry enough. I misunderstood what people were thinking.”

A spokesperson for Eversheds Sutherland told Legal Cheek:

“Eversheds Sutherland (International) can confirm that Tom Hagyard joined the firm in September 2017 as a trainee solicitor. He was suspended immediately following his arrest, and did not resume his position before leaving the firm in June 2018.”

The trial continues.

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