One massage therapist has been found guilty of assaulting a woman who thought she was moaning for pleasure, when in reality she had sciatica.
Graham Stannard (47), repeatedly touched the 25 year-old girl between her legs. He claimed that he was motivated by her sounds.
The woman claims she didn’t consent to it and that her uncontrollable groans were an indication of him touching her pain – which was caused by an irritation nerve.
The Kingston-upon-Thames Crown Court jury rejected the claim that he believed she consented to it and unanimously found him guilty on two counts of sexual assault.
Stannard from Westcliff-on-Sea (Essex), was arrested and bailed to be sentencing March 28.
Graham Stannard 47 repeatedly touched the young woman between her legs.
Judge John Lodge said to him, “You were found guilty of two very serious crimes and custody is an extremely realistic option. You must be prepared for this.”
Stannard was the head of Healing Zen Massage, and also a Zen-Su practitioner. He had an acupuncture room at a Balham beauty salon, London.
The woman who works in high pressure desk jobs booked an appointment for a massage to be performed on August 2, 2020 after reading the positive reviews online.
Her recorded police statement was viewed by the jury. She stated that he told her: “When I took off my mask, he said: “Wow. It’s obvious that you have a wonderful smile.
Stannard asked her to remove all of her clothes and place her face on the table. Stannard said, “It’s very nice that you’re making these noises. “I’d love to hear more of those sounds.”
Stannard massaged her hip area with his hands after she said, “They were normal sounds.”
“He touched me at least four times, but it wasn’t a mistake.
‘I went completely quiet. I always thought in a situation like that I’d be shouty and tell him to: ‘F*** off,’ but I just completely froze.
The woman claims she didn’t consent to it and that her uncontrollable groans are a reaction to him touching her pain – which was caused by an irritation of a nerve
‘I started moving my bum and hips away, but it didn’t deter him and I thought: ‘What the f***?’ I thought: ‘F***, he’s going to do it again,’ and this time he really went for it.
“He wanted me to lie down. He was topless, and I looked happy, with his eyes open, buzzing.
“He told me: “You have an amazing body.” He was so excited that he said, “He was going to make my front. And I thought it would be worse.”
Stannard ended the massage quickly and tried to have a conversation with her. “He stood close to my face, and the whole thing was kind of creepy.
He said that he returned to me after 10 minutes. Perhaps I could take you to dinner with me and give you a massage afterwards.
“He offered me a hug, but was not going to give me his kisses. So I left. Then, I called my boyfriend. He broke down and told me what had happened.
It was awful. After walking around dry and heaving for twenty minutes, I took a shower when I returned home to wash off the oil from my body.
Stannard then sent her a text, saying: “Lovely seeing you.” Let me know if you are interested in home massage.
Warwick Tatford was the previous prosecutor. He stated that Tatford has told jurors: ‘This defendant has been a full time masseur for over eleven years, and has a real business.
He said that his clients thought highly of him. But he succumbed to sexual temptation when he offered a massage for a 25-year old lady. The woman was very attractive, as you can see from the video.
It was done under her knickers. He seemed to enjoy it, and she refused to consent.
Stannard, when police interrogated her, did not deny touching the woman behind her legs.
“His case is that she consented, was excited, or if not she gave her consent, he believed she was.
This was refuted by the prosecutor who told the jury that he just liked her and could not resist sexually assaulting him.
“It was quite forceful and she made loud noises whenever he touched a sensitive spot. Moaning is a term she uses, but it does not have sexy meaning.
He began imitating her speech, almost as though it were a kind of pornographic fantasyland.
The defendant appears to have become caught up with the thrill of all this and was acting out sexual pleasures. According to him, he had been sexually aroused.
“That is close to confessing sexual assault, and he claims he was carried away at the time and it felt consensual.”
The woman, who was being cross-examined about her noises and concluded that she had been ‘aroused during the massage’ was wrongly questioned.
When asked by Stannard why she didn’t ask her to stop, she replied, “It happened so fast, I was shocked.” “I didn’t know how to respond.”
A question was put to the woman about whether she could move her hips or bum as if it were part of the sexual activity.
Judge Lodge stated to the jury that she would not send the defendant to prison today.
“The prosecution will need to decide if it wants to obtain a Sexual Harm Prevention Order in order to stop the defendant from committing similar offenses.
“I will also ask the Probation Service for a pre-sentence review to include issues such as the chance of re-offending.”