Landlord denies sexually assaulting staff by pushing money into their bras

Exeter Crown Court; Picture by Terry Ife ref exe 0931-33-10TI

The trial continues at Exeter Crown Court - Credit: Archant

A pub landlord has denied sexually assaulting female bar staff by pushing money into their bras when he paid them.

Peter Hayball told a jury at Exeter Crown Court he had never touched any of the four women inappropriately but accepted he was jokey or engaged in banter with some of them.

He said he was a gentleman who respects other people and their personal space but sometimes used innuendo when he was talking to them.

Hayball was arrested after a young woman who worked with him at an outside bar at an event at a village near Taunton complained that he had touched her.

The woman said he manhandled her bottom as he carried her out of his van when they arrived at the hall and then thrust her face into his crotch as she got up from plugging in a fridge.

She alleged that he put ice down her bra and touched her breast as he fished it out and that when he paid her, he put the cash down his trousers and asked her to get it out. She declined.

Hayball, 56, of Crossways, South Chard, denies 13 counts of sexual assault against four different women between 2016 to 2018, when he was running a pub in Devon.

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The prosecution says he sexually assaulted the women in a variety of ways, including slapping bottoms, brushing past their breasts in the bar, and putting their wages into their bras.

He is also alleged to have touched some of the women while taking them to or from outside bars in the Teign Valley, St Austell and East Devon.

READ MORE: Landlord accused of sexually assaulting barmaids

The women have told the jury that they found him creepy or a 'letch'.

Hayball, who left the pub last year but still runs an outside catering business from his home on the Devon-Somerset border, denied all the individual allegations.

He said he had patted one of the women on the bottom as ‘banter’ and touched another’s breast after she pushed it into his hand while chatting about breast enlargement.

He denied pushing wages into their tops as a ruse to touch their breasts.

He said: “I never did it. I never tried to put my hand down their tops. I did not touch or grope them. I have not sexually assaulted any of them. None at all, no.

“I am a gentleman and I am respectful to other people’s personal space.”

He denied all the allegations made by the youngest complainant, who worked for him at the village hall event on the outskirts of Taunton.

He said he had carried the woman out of the van because he was worried about her slipping, that she had shown him her nipple during a discussion about piercings, and guided her head from under the table to stop her bumping it.

He said he had not put ice down her top or put her wages down his trousers at the end of the evening.

The trial continues.