A high rise resident convicted of molesting a young woman who found herself in the midst of a mental health crisis has been warned to expect a lengthy prison sentence.

Dean Clark was yesterday found guilty of a single offence of sexual assault by penetration, Jurors, who were considering their verdicts for almost six hours, acquitted him of four other allegations of sexual assault.

The 33-year-old did not appear to flinch as the foreman of the jury read out the verdicts.

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Dean Clark outside Swindon Crown Court

Bailing him to return to Swindon Crown Court for sentence on September 15, Judge Peter Crabtree said: “You have been convicted by the jury of a serious offence. The starting point is unequivocally custody and of some length.”

During the five day trial – the first to be held in Swindon’s crown court under lockdown conditions – jurors heard competing stories of how Clark ended up on the roof of the Brunel West Car Park on the evening of July 3, 2018, and face to face with his young victim.

The Crown’s case

Dean Clark had a good view of the Brunel West car park. That much was clear.

A pair of binoculars was found in his flat part way up the David Murray John Tower and he’d previously called police about suspicious going-ons at the top of the five-storey car park.

At 7.18pm on July 3, 2018, a young woman in her 20s made her way up the steps and onto the roof of Brunel West.

She suffered from poor mental health and, in the midst of a crisis, liked to go to the top of the car park.

Clark had spotted her on the roof, prosecutor Nicholas Tucker told jurors. And that was why, a little after 8pm he made his way from his flat to Canal Walk.

Mr Tucker said on Monday, opening the case: “It is the prosecution’s case that on the evening of July 3, 2018, Mr Clark happened to look out and see the complainant standing there on the roof of the car park. He decided to go down and approach her. She was alone and patently vulnerable.”

CCTV showed Clark striding down the corridor and out the front door at 8.11pm. He was caught on camera walking past the old Paperchase shop and House of Fraser. The timecode on CCTV showed him walking through the underpass beneath the car park at 8.24pm and turning into the stairwell on the Farnsby Street side of the multi-storey.

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The underpass beneath the Brunel West car park

Clark had come up to her, the victim said. He asked if she had seen a man wearing grey who had been trying cars, before telling her she was the prettiest girl he had seen in the car park.

The woman – unsettled – was said to have walked back to the stairs but was followed. He put his hand down her leggings, it was claimed.

Clark was accused of asking if she had ever had sex with a stranger before pulling down her leggings and molesting her.

She managed to walk away. Clark had called after her and, when she look around, he had exposed himself, it was claimed

He adjusted his clothing and walked towards her, put his hand down her top and also touched her, jurors heard.

The woman pulled up her leggings and walked away. CCTV showed Clark begin to follow before he turned back to Canal Walk. He went to Tesco and bought a pack of chicken slices for £1.25 and a £1 multi-pack of steak crisps then walked back to the flat he shared with his wife.

The victim made it to Milton Road, where she called 999.

The case for the defence

The police had got it wrong, Clark’s lawyer said.

On July 3, 2018, he had spent most of the day watching YouTube videos. After 8pm he had left for Morrison’s and Tesco to buy chicken and crisps for his wife. He was on Jobseeker’s Allowance and the couple had to watch the pennies, so he planned to walk first to the Regent Circus supermarket before going to the smaller Tesco Metro shop to compare the prices.

He turned right out of the DMJ and onto Canal Walk. As he passed Paperchase he spotted an old friend by the car park underpass.

The friend was “Martin”. A couple of years his junior, Clark had met the man when he was enrolled on a skills for life course at Lackham College in the mid-2000s.

Martin had just bought some takeaway food and invited his old friend to join him on the top floor of the car park while he ate his food. Clark took the stairs, Martin went up the ramp of the car park.

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The view from the top floor of the Brunel West car park

As they were on the roof, a woman called across the tarmac. She walked over as Martin left.

When she got closer he could see she was upset. She said she was depressed and wanted some fun, took his hand and placed it on her bottom. He walked off but she grabbed his hand again and forced it down her leggings, he claimed.

He walked fast down the stairs, but she rushed past him. She stopped at the bottom of the stairwell and said something, which he did not hear. Clark told jurors he had not reported the encounter. “Most of the time guys call the police on this sort of thing they get...the usual brush off.”

The ponytailed man decided to abandon his plans to go to Morrisons and headed for Tesco instead. He had not mentioned the unusual encounter on the car park roof.

But the account was labelled “absolute nonsense” by the prosecutor. Cross-examining Clark, Mr Tucker asked: “You identified her as an evidently vulnerable girl and that’s why you left your flat to go and see what advantage you could take from her, didn’t you?” Clark denied it.

In his closing speech to jurors, Mr Tucker added: “The defendant would have you believe that on the night in question a woman he had never met before approached him, a woman who had obviously been crying but a woman who he says was determined to have sex with him, a complete stranger, a woman who would not take no for an answer.”

He added: “There is a place for stories such as this, members of the jury. It is in the fevered fantasies of over-sexed adolescent boys.”

Who is Martin?

Anyone listening to the submissions from the lawyers might think that was a key question of the trial. Who is Martin?

Clark said he had met the man while he was at Lackham College. He was around 5’10”, white, had medium-length brown hair.

But he didn’t know the man’s surname or where he lived. He’d seen him a couple of times in the months leading up to the incident in July 2018, but had not seen him since. He had been unable to track him down on Facebook. Police efforts to find him proved fruitless too.

And Martin was nowhere to be seen on CCTV covering the car park’s entrances and the underpass. Well, Clark said, he could have left in a car or on a motorbike.

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Lackham College Picture: GOOGLE

The defendant told police he’d spent 30 seconds speaking to Martin on the ground floor of the car park, while CCTV footage showed he’d walked the length of the underpass in just 19 seconds. Mr Tucker told Clark as he stood on the witness box: “It would have to be a really short conversation as you were walking, wouldn’t it. ‘Hi Martin, bye Martin.’ There was no conversation with Martin in the underpass, was there.” Clark maintained there was.

Mr Tucker asked: “Does Martin even exist?” “Yes, he does,” the defendant replied.

Clark was asked if it had struck him as odd Martin was eating his food on the roof. It had not, he told jurors. “Now, I wish I’d just said ‘see you later’.”


As jurors prepared to pick up their papers and head to the deliberation room, Clark’s lawyer, veteran Tony Bignall, told them in his closing speech: “This is not an Agatha Christie mystery. You don’t have to try and determine what really happened.

“What you have to determine is whether or not on the evidence you’ve heard you can be sure Mr Clark committed these offences. Nothing less than that will do.”

After almost six hours of discussion they came back with the verdicts. Guilty to count one, the first assault on the woman on the roof of the car park. But not guilty to the remaining four.

Clark, of the David Murray John Tower, Canal Walk, will be sentenced on September 15.