September 2005

Ex-councillor jailed for sex assaults

A FORMER Conservative councillor has been branded “a menace to young women” and sent to jail for two-and-a-half years for a string of sex attacks.

Michael Robinson, 59, pleaded guilty to two indecent assaults and four sexual assaults on four women who worked at his new age and body piercing shop. One of his victims was just 15-years-old.

Robinson, of Frating Road, Ardleigh, was yesterday sent to jail for two-and-a-half years for each charge after Chelmsford Crown Court heard how he preyed on his staff at Igigi, in Eld Lane, Colchester.

The former pig farmer, who used to sit on Tendring District Council, was also banned from working with young women when Judge Charles Gratwicke imposed a sexual offences prevention order on him.

The prosecution gave brief details of Robinson’s offences, which included grabbing the buttocks of his assistants, stroking one woman’s breast when he was hugging her while she was upset, and grabbing two women’s legs above the knees and massaging their thighs.

He also made sexual comments to all of the women regarding their bodies.

All the assaults took place between February and August last year.

The court was also told about sex offences he committed against staff and customers at the shop previously, such as getting belly button piercing clients to pull down their trousers and knickers, and groping a member of staff. These resulted in a four-year prison sentence in 1999.

Defence barrister Sarah Vine said the latest offences were at a lower level than before because there was no skin-to-skin contact.

Robinson wept as Ms Vine said he has “lost agreat deal in relation to this matter”.

He had two shops, one has closed down and the other is to be wound up.

His ex-wife, with whom he ran the shops, is in ill health with a heart condition and has had an operation.

Judge Gratwicke told Robinson: “You are a menace to young women. Any young woman who you come in contact with is at risk of being sexually assaulted by you in the manner this court has heard about.”

He added: “Women, and young women in particular, are entitled to expect that when they go to work they can carry out that work without any type of sexual assaults.”

Detective Sergeant Mark Merry, of Colchester CID, said when the case had finished: “We are pleased that this man who we consider to be a danger to women has been sent to prison.”