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Former Winter Gardens kitchen porter John Pond molested sleeping teenager in Margate flat

A man has been convicted of molesting a sleeping teenager after a drunken night out.

John Pond, 40, denied sex attacks on two girls after allegedly climbing into bed with them following an evening drinking in Margate.

The former Winter Gardens kitchen porter said the "shy and quiet" teens fabricated the allegations, despite having no motive to do so.

John Pond was convicted at Canterbury Crown Court
John Pond was convicted at Canterbury Crown Court

A jury found him guilty of sexual assault against one girl, while acquitting him of sexually assaulting the other.

Judge Catherine Brown told the father-of-two he was convicted of a "serious offence" and will face an immediate prison sentence.

"I'm satisfied there is a real risk of you failing to surrender and therefore I'm remanding you into custody," she said.

"You are subject to the sex offender requirements as of today."

Pond remained emotionless throughout the hearing and was led from the dock to cries of "see you later mate".

A jury heard he and the girls returned to a flat in Margate in the small hours after a drink-fuelled night.

Cross-examining in front of a jury at Canterbury Crown Court, prosecutor Nina Ellin accused Pond of molesting the victim in her sleep.

John Pond was a kitchen porter at the Winter Gardens in Margate
John Pond was a kitchen porter at the Winter Gardens in Margate

Pond would go on to say he only cuddled the teenagers and had not tried kissing one, because he suffered a toothache and "wasn't attracted to them".

He claimed the girls influenced him to get inside the bed before making false allegations.

Ms Ellin asked Pond: "Can you think of any reason why they might make up these allegations?"

“No I can’t, it didn’t happen I would never do that to them - never,” the defendant responded.

Both girls had drunk a significant amount of prosecco, cider and vodka before the attack.

Canterbury Crown Court
Canterbury Crown Court

Pond had drunk seven whiskies and taken painkillers, Judge Brown was told.

The next day the two friends left at separate times. The abuse surfaced during a Facebook conversation soon after.

The court heard Pond, represented by Paul Hogben, would make sexual passes towards female staff at the Winter Gardens, hugging and kissing them, occasionally on the lips.

However, Pond said his tactile behaviour was harmless, and he would be careful to ensure women felt comfortable.

Pond, of King Street in Margate, was convicted of one count of sexual assault and acquitted of the other.

He will be sentenced at the same court on Monday.

To read more of our in depth coverage of all of the major trials coming out of crown and magistrates' courts across the county, click here.

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