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Director who groped women after a barbecue is spared jail 

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Drunken 'Brideshead Revisited' estate director assaulted two women after a barbecue - kissing one as she tried to escape and groping another in front of her husband AND his own wife

  • Josh Feakins, 45, attacked his victims after a barbeque event at Castle Howard 
  • The site of the attack were the backdrop for the TV classic Brideshead Revisited 
  • The attacks cost Feakins his job as estate director at the North Yorkshire mansion

By Chris Brooke for the Daily Mail

Published: 18:03 EDT, 12 March 2019 | Updated: 18:17 EDT, 12 March 2019

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Married father Josh Feakins, 45, (pictured) leaves Scarborough Magistrates Court after he was found guilty of two counts of sexual assault on two women at his three day trial
Married father Josh Feakins, 45, (pictured) leaves Scarborough Magistrates Court after he was found guilty of two counts of sexual assault on two women at his three day trial

Married father Josh Feakins, 45, (pictured) leaves Scarborough Magistrates Court after he was found guilty of two counts of sexual assault on two women at his three day trial

An executive at one of Britain’s finest stately homes sexually assaulted two women after getting drunk at a barbecue.

Married father Josh Feakins, 45, attacked his victims after an event at Castle Howard – the backdrop for TV classic Brideshead Revisited.

He kissed one woman forcefully in one of the home’s most ornate rooms as she tried to escape, and groped a second in front of her husband and his own wife.

The attacks cost Feakins his job as estate director at the 18th-century North Yorkshire mansion. He denied two counts of sexual assault but was convicted following a trial at Scarborough Magistrates’ Court.

The incidents were described by a magistrate as ‘an abuse of power’.

Feakins avoided jail but was ordered to do 240 hours of unpaid work and pay his victims £500 compensation each.

He must also sign the sex offenders’ register for five years.

Feakins had got ‘extremely drunk’ at an evening barbecue for families and children at Castle Howard in July 2017, the court heard.

He approached his first victim in the Grecian Hall, and began rubbing her leg up and down. Prosecutor Sarah Tyrer said: ‘It was as if he was trying to get his hand under her dress. She was totally shocked and continually told him to stop. She tried to shout but it was really hard because his hand was on her mouth.’

Feakins fondled her and put his tongue inside her mouth, acting so forcefully that his victim suffered a cut lip and bruising to her arm. The woman eventually broke free and fled.

Following the barbecue, Feakins and his wife Suzanne – who had also been drinking at the event – invited two guests to their home. The two married couples sat round the kitchen table drinking at the property, which is near the stately home and owned by the estate.

Opulent: Brideshead Revisited stars Anthony Andrews, Diana Quick and Jeremy Irons at Castle Howard
Opulent: Brideshead Revisited stars Anthony Andrews, Diana Quick and Jeremy Irons at Castle Howard

Opulent: Brideshead Revisited stars Anthony Andrews, Diana Quick and Jeremy Irons at Castle Howard

Feakins, who was sat next to his female guest, began throwing pieces of paper down her V-neck top. He followed this by pulling the top down and throwing a lighter down the woman’s front. His victim ‘felt violated’ and moved to sit next to her husband, Mrs Tyrer said – but as she tried to squeeze past Feakins he touched her indecently.

The victim’s husband saw and nearly got into a fight with Feakins, before the couple left.

They lodged a complaint with Allister Nixon, Castle Howard’s chief operating officer, the same evening. Feakins claimed to have no recollection of the night when he was suspended the following day.

Presiding magistrate Ian Nicholson said: ‘We saw an abuse of power. There was a violent component to both incidents and a level of aggression both ladies had to endure.’

Kevin Blount, defending, said ‘alcohol was the factor’ that led to Feakins losing his job and the home that went with it. A Castle Howard spokesman said Feakins had been working on secondment from real estate firm Savills and they had ‘liaised closely with the authorities’.

Feakins’ former workplace was the location for 1981’s TV adaptation of Evelyn Waugh’s novel Brideshead Revisited, starring Jeremy Irons, as well as a 2008 film version.

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