An embarrassed woman poured beer over a man after she caught him lifting her dress and underwear in front of passengers on a train to Newtown, a court has heard.

Gareth Manuel, aged 40, admitted lifting her skirt but claimed it wasn't sexual but a "prank that horrendously backfired".

He will be sentenced later this month after pleading guilty to sexual assault on a female when he appeared in the dock at Welshpool Magistrates' Court on Tuesday, August 1.

Prosecutor Helen Tench said the woman told police officers that her dress had been lifted up twice by two men during the journey from Shrewsbury.

The woman, who has lifelong anonymity as a victim of sexual assault, said she believed the second incident, by Manuel, "was an attempt to expose her genitals".


Mrs Tench said: "She saw a male with an outstretched arm, and she then poured beer over him and took a photo of him."

She added that Manuel later told police that he did lift her dress, but insisted it had been a "prank".

Robert Hanratty, mitigating, said Manuel was drinking with friends on the carriage when the incident happened on March 4, this year.

"It was a prank that horrendously backfired which caused this young lady distress," Mr Hanratty said.

County Times:

"The young lady concerned came up to the group quite animated by the sound of things. The male next to the defendant tugged her dress which he thought was banter. She slapped the chap's face and there was laughter. It's strange she didn't mention that.

"There was some tom foolery. Less than a minute later she engaged with the group again. The defendant said he was looking outside the window when he flicked the girl's skirt. He says he didn't touch her, and it wasn't sexual. Embarrassment was the issue for the injured person.

"These sort of pranks are being criminalised. It really spoils a good reputation. He's worried people will think he's got this demeanour. It was a prank, and he clearly regrets it."

Chair of the magistrates' bench Nerys Jones granted Manuel, of The Gardens, Kerry, unconditional bail to return for sentencing at Welshpool Magistrates' Court on August 22.