Man sexually assaulted friend after birthday celebration

Russell Dodd. Picture: Vic Rodrick
Russell Dodd. Picture: Vic Rodrick

A MAN ended a drunken night celebrating his birthday by stripping and sexually assaulting a female friend.

Russell Dodd had asked his female friend for a hug after his 22nd birthday party because he was unhappy at finding out that a former girlfriend had found a new partner.

Livingston Sheriff Court.

Livingston Sheriff Court.

The woman fell asleep fully-clothed on Dodd’s bed cuddling his dog, a court heard.

She wakened to find herself naked apart from her socks with Dodd lying naked next to her and touching her inappropriately.

Livingston Sheriff Court was told that when she demanded to know what he was doing, he replied: “I didn’t rape you!” Dodd, 23, of Blackburn, West Lothian, pleaded guilty on indictment to a sexual assault charge.

He admitted taking off his own clothes and stripping the sleeping woman before indecently assaulting her in his home on February 21, 2016.

Sheriff Peter Hammond called for background reports and ordered Dodd’s name to be added to the sex offenders’ register with immediate effect.

Continuing Dodd’s bail, the sheriff told him he would be informed how long he would remain subject to notification requirements when he returns to court to be sentenced on September 22.

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He warned: “This is a serious matter to which you’ve pled guilty. All options are open to the court, including a custodial sentence.”

Alistair Macleod, prosecuting, said the accused had invited three friends, including his eventual victim, to help him celebrate his birthday at his home in Beechwood Road, Blackburn.

One male friend agreed to be the designated driver and remain sober, but Dodd and the two females were all drinking alcohol.

Mr Macleod said: “As the evening continued the accused indicated he wished to go out to public house to continue celebrating his birthday party so all four moved on to a bar in Livingston, West Lothian, arriving there at approximately 10.30 pm.”

He said the two women, who had been drinking wine, started consuming cocktails in the pub and Dodd was drinking vodka and coke.

Mr Macleod said Dodd “became upset and started crying” in the bar when he learned that a former girlfriend was seeing someone else.

He said: “The complainer felt sorry for the accused [and] reassured him he was going to be OK. Other people present observed the accused in an emotional state while talking to the complainer.

“The accused’s mood improved, however, and they continued to consume alcohol and the complainer and the other female also consumed some cocktails.”

In the early hours of the morning, Dodd invited the two women and the designated driver to go back to his home in Blackburn, West Lothian, for more drinks.

Dodd had drunk so much they had to stop the car on the way back from the pub so he could be sick.

When he got home he continued to be sick and his friends gave him a glass of water and laid him on top of his bed to recover.

Mr Macleod said Dodd asked to speak to the complainer just after 1am and she went into his bedroom.

Mr Macleod said: “She found the accused fully clothed lying on top of his covers.

“He told her he was steaming and asked for a hug. She gave him a hug lying on bed next to the accused.”

He said the complainer returned to the living room shortly afterwards to drink more wine with the other woman.

As the driver left to take the other female home later that morning, the complainer went back into the accused’s bedroom to check on him.

Mr Macleod said: “The accused was awake and informed the complainer he still felt sick. He gestured to her to give him another hug.

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“The complainer lay down beside the accused and gave him a cuddle. At that point the accused’s dog jumped up on the bed and the complainer cuddled into the dog.” Mr Macleod then described how the complainer fell asleep but woke to find nearly all of her clothes had been removed and that Dodd was touching her indecently.

He added: “The complainer recalls falling asleep while fully clothed on top of the bed cuddling the dog. The complainer next recalls being woken with a jolt.

“At that point she realised that she had no clothes on except for her socks.

“On realising what was happening the complainer shouted, ‘What do you think you’re doing?’, and the accused replied, ‘I didn’t rape you!’. The complainer jumped out of bed and located her clothing which she found lying on the bedroom floor and stated to dress herself.”

The fiscal said the woman managed to contact the designated driver by mobile phone and he returned to Blackburn to pick her up.

“She was then taken to her home address where she woke her parents and advised them what had happened and the police were contacted,” he said.

Kevin Dugan, defending, revealed that Dodd had a full time job and had no previous convictions or outstanding cases.”