A FORMER estate director at a Ryedale stately home subjected two women to drunken sexual assaults.

Josh Douglas George Feakins, 45, of Greenacres, Hunton, Bedale, was convicted of two counts of sexual assault – at Castle Howard and in a nearby village – during a three-day trial in York. Feakins was sentenced at Scarborough Magistrates’ Court on Monday, March 11.

Sarah Tyrer, prosecuting, described the incidents, which happened at a party in the summer of 2017. She said the first victim was confronted by Feakins in the stately home’s Grecian room.

“He asked her to sit next to him because he wanted a chat,” she said.

“Then he started to conduct himself in an improper manner. She immediately felt uncomfortable.”

Ms Tyrer said Feakins began to rub the woman’s leg from her knee to her thigh, as if he was trying to get his hand under her dress.

She said: “She was totally shocked by this behaviour and immediately told him to stop and told him he would regret it in the morning.”

The court was told the woman began to make her way out, but Feakins “roughly” pushed her against a wall.

“He forcefully held her arm. He managed to get hold of her hair. She said he was trying to force his tongue into her mouth.”

The woman managed to push him away but sustained bruising to her arm and a split lip.

Later, at another property, Feakins started to throw bits of paper down the V-necked top of the second victim.

Ms Tyrer said: “Then he pulled it down and dropped a lighter down the top.”

Feeling “violated”, the woman decided to move across the table, but as she was squeezing between the table and the wall, Feakins put his hand between her legs.

“I was lifted off the ground with the force of it,” the victim said in her statement. “This was a deliberate act.”

The victim left the house and reported the incident.

Feakins, who said he had no recollection of the incidents, was suspended from work the following day.

Defence lawyer Kevin Blount said: “Since his arrest, which is now getting towards two years ago, Mr Feakins has not drunk in a social setting - and he has no intention of doing so as he acknowledges that the amount he had to drink led to him being before the courts.

“It’s clear that alcohol was what led him losing his good character. This has had huge impacts on himself and his family.”

He added that there was no risk of future re-offending.

Sentencing Feakins, magistrate Ian Nicholson said: “These were serious incidents. You’d taken a substantial amount of alcohol. There was a violent component to both incidents and a level of aggression.”