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A former Eversheds Sutherland trainee has been jailed for eight years for sexually assaulting two women at a colleague's house-warming party.
Tom Hagyard, 25 at the time, attended the party at a flat in Fulham in October 2017. He had only recently started as a trainee at Eversheds, and earlier that evening had treated his parents and sisters to a Michelin star meal to celebrate his first pay-cheque.
At the party, a female law student took herself to bed after drinking heavily. She was "sound asleep" when Hagyard "began to touch her sexually" the Isleworth Crown Court heard, according to a report in the Daily Mail.
The woman told the court that she was "nine or ten-out-of-ten drunk", but woke up to find Hagyard on top of her. "I was going in and out of consciousness and did not think I could move. I froze a bit...I remember trying to push him away." She added, "I kept my eyes closed for a bit and I remember feeling confused. He was on top of me and I was in pain. I felt like I could not move or fight him off."
Richard Job for the prosecution said Hagyard then groped another woman who was sleeping in the lounge. The second woman "was woken at 5.30am by someone touching her chest," said Job. "The top of her bra had been pulled to one side and a man's hand was on her breast. She felt his mouth next to her ear and the words: 'Shush. It's okay'."
Hagyard was "crouched by her", said Job, "and having touched her breast he moved his hand to her belt and began to undo the buckle. She was scared and she got up and went quickly to the host's bedroom."
Hagyard claimed the sexual activity was consensual and that both women were "enjoying it."
In her victim impact statement the first woman said it was "re-traumatising and haunting" for Hagyard to claim that she consented, even though she was "unconscious." She said "the nightmares I have in relation to the assaults are impossible to shake off," and she felt ashamed that she did not fight back.
The second woman said in her statement, “I am grieving for the loss of my old self, I miss her deeply." She added that she hoped Hagyard sought resolution so he did not harm anyone else.
Recorder Simon Russell Flint QC berated Hagyard for claiming that the women consented. "You have concocted an account you hoped would be accepted and you have caused each of them severe psychological harm, plus harm to your more than loving supportive family”, he said.
"Your family will have to face the reality their son, who was destined to be a highly successful solicitor, is a sex offender, who preyed on two young women," said Flint QC. "This has all gone, due to your conduct in that hour that has caused so much devastation to people's lives. This is a tragic case for those two ladies and tragic for what you have brought on your family."
The court convicted Hagyard of two counts of assault by penetration in relation to the first woman and two counts of sexual assault in relation to the second woman. The jury failed to reach a verdict on one count of rape for the first woman.
"Eversheds Sutherland (International) can confirm that Tom Hagyard joined the firm in September 2017 as a trainee solicitor," a spokeswoman for the firm told RollOnFriday. "He was suspended immediately following his arrest, and did not resume his position before leaving the firm in June 2018."