Founder of army veteran's charity must register as sex offender

Founder of army veteran’s charity must register as sex offender after squeezing woman’s bottom while posing for photo at awards bash

  • A charity founder, 54, who groped a woman’s bottom has been spared jail
  • Timothy Evers was convicted of sexual assault following a trial last month
  • He assaulted the woman when she posed for a photo with him at an awards night

The founder of an Army veterans’ charity who groped a woman’s bottom to check if she was wearing underwear has been spared jail.

Timothy Evers, 54, sexually assaulted the woman when she posed for a picture with him at an awards night at a Westminster hotel.

The former Royal Engineer founded Sapper Support in 2014 and had won the prize for Best New Charity on October 5, 2017.

Evers, a father-of-two, now serving in South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue, denied sexual assault and told Westminster Magistrates’ Court it ‘did not happen’.

But District Judge Neeta Minhas convicted Evers of sexual assault following a trial last month.

Judge Minhas referred to a Twitter exchange between Evers and the victim, where he blamed ‘fizz and exuberance’ and said: ‘No malice, but also no excuse.’

The judge added: ‘I interpret the tweet as him apologising for his actions.’

Wearing a grey suit, blue shirt and red striped tie, Evers was sentenced to a 12-month community order with 80 hours of unpaid work.

He must also attend a 15-day rehabilitation program and register as a sex offender for the next five years.

Timothy Evers, 54, sexually assaulted the woman when she posed for a picture with him at an awards night at a Westminster hotel

The woman had told the court how Evers approached her and asked for a photograph with her.

‘His charity had won. I did recognize him as one of the winners,’ the woman said.

Evers told her to ‘come over this way’ for the picture.

‘I didn’t like that. I thought that was weird,’ she said.

She said they then went to another part of the building, where she saw a large group of men on the stairs.

‘I thought they wanted a group picture. They were all giggling and watching him take a photo of me.

‘One of them took the photo.

‘He put his arm around me like that [indicating her waist], and then put his hand on my bum.

‘He put his hand all the way around my bottom and squeezed it.’

‘He said “I just wanted to check if you’ve got knickers on”. He then pointed to his colleagues and said “sorry lover, they dared me to do that”.

The victim said that she shouted at Evers as she tried not to cry, before running away.

She said she then went and told someone at the event what had happened.

‘I was crying and saying “that bloke just touched my a*se”.

The woman added: ‘At an event like that at that time of night I assume everyone’s a bit squiffy. He wasn’t staggering.

‘I went home and sat in my room. I was furious I was crying. I was really upset. It occurred to me to call the police. But I didn’t.

‘I felt very humiliated. I don’t like to use the word triggered, but I was very triggered at being touched on an intimate part of myself.

‘I felt very angry with myself because I kept thinking what I could have done to avoid that. I was cross with myself for walking with him and not staying where I was.’

The woman said she wrote a tweet to charity Sapper Support, which replied saying ‘exuberance and fizz were to blame.’

‘I assumed it was him. I felt it was very dismissive, and not connecting with the fact that I was hurt,’ the woman said.

The victim reported the incident in 2020.

‘It happened just before the #MeToo movement which was significant to me,’ she explained.

Evers, who has been a firefighter for 26 years, said he founded the charity after hearing about the death of a fellow ‘Sapper’ from PTSD.

He told the court he had a single glass of champagne at the event that evening.

‘This was a big deal for me. We were a very junior charity. I wanted to be able to remember it,’ he said.

Evers, who has been a firefighter for 26 years, said he founded the charity after hearing about the death of a fellow ‘Sapper’ from PTSD, Westminster Magistrates Court heard

He said he asked the woman for a picture for his social media and she agreed.

‘I put my arm around her waist. I had my trophy in my hand,’ said Evers.

‘The pictures were blurred, it was dark. I deleted them. I said I wasn’t going to bother her again.’

His barrister asked: ‘She says you lowered your hand and squeezed her buttocks.’

Evers replied: ‘That did not happen.’

He said when he saw her tweet ‘I felt sick to my stomach if I’m honest. I was astounded that she thought we did it. So I wrote a clumsy reply at four in the morning.’

In the tweet, Evers said ‘too much alcohol and exuberance were probably to blame. No malice, but also no excuse.’

He told the court: ‘It wasn’t an admission of guilt. It was a badly worded, early morning tweet.

‘I asked if any volunteers had had any interaction with her.’

Evers said he deleted the tweet because he got a ‘torrent of abuse.’

‘It was quite vile. I was called a paedophile,’ he said.

Prosecutor Jennifer Gatland asked Evers and asked him why he used the words ‘sincere apologies’.

‘I wasn’t apologizing for anything I’ve done. I didn’t know who had done it… I thought one of my volunteers might have done it,’ he replied.

Ms Gatland asked: ‘Did you delete it because you realized you were admitting to touching her?’

‘No, not at all,’ said Evers.

Evers, of Cleckheaton, West Yorkshire, denied the charge but was convicted of sexual assault.

The judge had said of the victim: ‘I found her a compelling witness. The incident left a lasting impression on her.’

According to the Sapper Support website, Evers joined the Royal Engineers in 1992. 

After an operational tour he moved to 33 Engineer Regiment EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) Wimbish, later serving in Bosnia. He became a fireman after leaving the military.

He founded the charity in 2014 after a close friend of his committed suicide after suffering from PTSD, a court heard.

Evers’ colleague and close friend Mike Jenkins described him as ‘the driving force behind a charity that quite literally saved lives.’ 

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