Former Sedgefield employee given prison sentence for sex attack
A former award-winning head groundsman at Sedgefield racecourse has been given a 12-month jail sentence for a "serious assault" on a woman at a party following a charity gala dinner.
Mark Davison, winner of the support staff trophy at the Pride of Racing Awards ceremony in 2014, was branded as "arrogant and unsympathetic" by a judge at Teesside Crown Court after denying the sexual assault and blaming his victim for his crimes.
The 41-year-old, who was installed as head groundsman in 2002 having become the third generation of his family to work at his local course when starting there in 1991, was convicted after a trial.
The court heard the victim was asleep when Davison crept into her bed and performed a sex act on her, and she woke to find her pyjama bottoms had been pulled down around her ankles.
Davison told police after his arrest last year that the encounter was consensual and had been initiated by the woman.
His barrister Peter Sabiston said: "While there is still no acceptance of guilt, there is an element to this case where he may have been reckless."
The barrister added there had been "an arrangement for him to leave" his position at Sedgefield, and said: "Whether it was dismissal or resignation, there was an agreement."