Pub landlord Peter Hayball jailed for sexual assaults

A LANDLORD has been jailed for groping three barmaids as he tried to stuff their wages down their cleavage.

Peter Hayball took advantage of his position as boss of a Devon pub to abuse the three women as he paid them after late shifts.

They were so shocked by his behaviour they stopped working at the pub and refused to accompany Hayball when he ran outside bars in Somerset, Cornwall and Devon.

They told a trial at Exeter Crown Court in March how Hayball, 56, leered at their breasts and engaged in smutty sexual banter.

They spoke of the stress and anxiety they suffered due to the assaults.

One said: “I lost my job because I could not bear to put up with his treatment.

“I will never work in a bar again because I don’t trust anyone.”

Hayball, of Crossways, South Chard, was found guilty of three counts of sexual assault against three employees.

He was cleared of ten other sexual assaults, either on the same victims or a fourth, who alleged he molested her at an outside bar at a village hall near Taunton.

Hayball was jailed for 18 months by Recorder Mr Christopher Quinlan, QC, who put him on the sex offenders’ register for 10 years.

The judge told Hayball: “You took advantage of your position as an employer.

“If you did not create situations in which you were alone with the women, you waited for an opportunity and took advantage of it.

“You were in a position of authority and they were in a situation in which they were entitled to feel safe in their place of work.”

During the trial, the barmaids all said Hayball pulled open their tops and tried to put their wages into their cleavage, touching the breast of at least one and being fended off by another.

He claimed banter and Carry-On humour had been mistaken for sexual advances and the incidents were misunderstandings.

He said: “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.

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

Emily Cook, defending, said Hayball, a carer for his 80-year-old father, no longer runs the pub and his outside catering business has been affected badly by publicity about his trial.

Somerset County Gazette | News