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News: UK

Fri 26 Feb, 2010
By Danielle Carter

Teresa Cottingham, 35, drunkenly floored the young woman victim with a Tai Kwon Do move and removed her underwear.

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A Senior NHS manager who bragged, "I'm better than a man" during a lesbian attack on the eve of a conference was jailed for 12 months this week.
Teresa Cottingham, 35, drunkenly floored the young woman victim with a Tai Kwon Do move and removed her underwear.

During the hotel room assault she throttled the victim and subjected her to a sex attack.

The since newly-wed mother-of-one has been sacked from her top post with Sussex NHS Partnership, an Eastbourne-based mental health trust, over the 'devastating' scandal, Blackfriars Crown Court heard.

Adam Davis, prosecuting, said Cottingham travelled to the capital from Eastbourne on January 26 last year, and checked into the Premier Inn, Euston.
She then joined a group in a Wetherspoon's pub in nearby Baker Street, where she became 'almost senseless' with alcohol.

The victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, escorted her back to the hotel in a taxi.

The barrister said, "In the hotel room the defendant collapsed onto the bed.
"She started to get undressed and ended up in a vest top and knickers.
"Ms Cottingham asked the victim to make a cup of tea.
"The victim had her back to the defendant and it seems the defendant tried to pull her back onto the bed by the waistband of her shorts.
"She refers to the defendant as keeping on trying to pull her onto the bed."
The concerned young woman warned her, "Look Teresa, you'll regret this in the morning" and finished making the bedtime drink.
But the victim said Cottingham would not take no for an answer and yelled, "You know you want it, you've been parading in front of me."
The defendant then pulled her onto the bed and there was a struggle.
The prosecutor said, "Cottingham then declared, 'I know what I'm doing – I'm better than a man'."

He said the victim at first thought Cottingham was joking but then she was tripped over with a martial arts move causing her to hit her head on a cupboard.
The barrister said, "There was a certain amount of wrestling, with the complainant making it perfectly clear she didn't want to participate.
"Cottingham got more aggressive and forceful."

The victim's underwear was removed and Cottingham grabbed her by the throat and began throttling her.

She also bit her and subjected her to a serious sexual assault. Cottingham then fell asleep.

The alarm was raised afterwards and Cottingham was arrested days later on February 5.

She claimed the drunken incident was between 'two consenting adults' but eventually changed her plea to guilty on the first day of her trial on January 4 this year, despite being unable to recall much of what happened.

Sharon Bailey, defending, urged Judge Ian Karsten QC to suspend any prison sentence he had to pass because Cottingham, who acted 'completely out-of-character', had already suffered enough.

She had managed to get a job in a pub but was forced to leave after her secret got out.
"She had a professional position with a good salary," said the barrister.
"She is no longer able to keep up with her outgoings and this may result in her being made bankrupt."
The barrister added that Cottingham is now Mrs Chapman after marrying a man – who wept in the public gallery – just last week.
But the judge said, "This was a horrid attack.
"I accept you were drunk and that had you not been, you would not have done anything like that.
"It was a violent assault and humiliating for the victim.
"The impact statement shows it's really had long-term serious effects on her.
"As sex assaults go I have to say it really is a bad case."

Cottingham, who lives in Lewes, admitted sexual assault and denied assault by penetration, which was left to lie on the court file.

Source: Bexhill-on-Sea Observer


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