Original article no longer available
May 16 2008
by Katie Grant, Southport Visiter
A FRENCHMAN prodded a young woman’s breasts at Southport train station on Saturday evening because he thought she was too provocatively dressed.
Minutes later he slapped the upset and angry 20-year-old after she shouted at him.
North Sefton Magistrates’ court heard how Laurent Demarche was trying to ‘mock’ the woman who was on her way to Southport for a night out.
Demarche stood in the dock wearing a leather jacket. He pleaded guilty to charges of assault and public disorder.
Mrs Prescott, prosecuting, said the assault was at 9.55pm on May 10 when Terri Yahia was on the train to Southport.
When Ms Yahia was getting off the train at Southport Station, Demarche started poking her chest.
Mrs Prescott said: “She was angry and upset and shouted at him, ‘How dare you do that!’
“As the door opened he gave her a back-handed slap to the side of her face. At the time of interview she said her jaw was aching and she said she had a headache and her neck felt like it had whiplash.”
When Demarche was arrested by police he said that he had been on a night out in Liverpool with friends.
He said he had been drinking on the night of the assault but didn’t know how much alcohol he had consumed.
Nick Archer, defending, said: “This is an unusual case to say the least. He is here on a short break visiting various friends.
“I suspect that he will be getting the next possible available flight home.
“He had recently gone through a marriage break-up and as a result has been prescribed medication for depression.
“He had been drinking Guinness and he knows that alcohol affects him more when he is on his medication.
“He saw the two girls on the train and he perceived their dresses were rather more revealing than appropriate.
“He said he went to mock the girl and he said he doesn’t recall touching her and there is no suggestion that he was poking the girl’s breasts as there are no charges against him of sexual assault.”
Mr Archer described how Demarche had not meant to slap Yahia, but instead made a hand gesture to ‘shoo’ her away and had accidentally hit her with the back of his hand.
Chairman of the magistrates, Mrs Batey, said that Demarche would be sentenced for both offences.
She said that the mitigating factors were that minor injury was caused, the assault was impulsive, and Demarche had no previous convictions in the UK.
Demarche was given a fine of £250 reduced to £180 but did not have to pay because of time already spent in custody.
He was ordered to pay £150 compensation to the victim within seven days.