Jury set to consider verdict over masseur accused of sexual assault

Teesside Crown Court.
Teesside Crown Court.

A jury is expected to retire on Monday to consider its verdict in the case of a masseur accused of sexual assault.

David Facchini is accused of groping a woman’s breasts and pulling her knickers off during a sports massage.

Facchini, a professional masseur, accepts he gave the woman a massage, but denies he touched her inappropriately or removed her underwear.

In three days of evidence, a jury at Teesside Crown Court heard the woman went to Facchini after completing a strenuous athletic event.

She said she was lying on massage table in Facchini’s Hartlepool home when he removed a towel from her front.

“He massaged my bare breasts for about five seconds,” she said. “He stopped when I told him I didn’t need my breasts massaging.

“He then whipped off my knickers and threw them across the room.”

The woman said she got dressed as quickly as she could and left the house.

Facchini said the massage proceeded as normal.

He denied massaging her breasts and denied taking off her knickers.

“She was fine when she left,” he said. “Very relaxed as clients often are after a massage, she was not at all distressed.

“There was nothing that happened that day which gave me any cause for concern.”

A character witness told the court she had known Facchini for several years, and she regarded him as honest, trustworthy, and skilled at his job.

Eloise Emanuel, defending, told the jury: “Mr Facchini, a man of impeccable character, does not have to prove anything.

“The burden is on the prosecution to prove the case.

“Mr Facchini did not have to give a statement to the police, nor did he have to go into the witness box to give evidence before you, but he chose to do both those things.

“The Crown say the alleged victim in this case has been consistent in her account.

“Experience has shown even an honest witness can be mistaken, may have mis-remembered, or it could just be all in her mind.

“The massage took over more than an hour, and we have heard it has a soporific effect.

“To convict Mr Facchini, you have to be satisfied so you are sure.

“On the evidence of this case, you simply cannot be sure he committed the offence.”

Facchini, 47, of Windermere Road, Hartlepool, denies sexual assault.

Proceeding.