Kerry Brocklebank at Cambridge Crown Court today where she is on trial facing charges of sexual assault, battery and perverting the course of justice
A health spa owner who is alleged to have sexually assaulted a male client while giving him an unwanted massage says he is only complaining because he and his masseur were having ‘gay time’ and fabricated the assault to claim compensation.
Kerry Brocklebank, 43, denies that she was drunk and wearing a bikini as she repeatedly rubbed the alleged victim’s calves while he pleaded for her to stop, instead claiming she wore a one-piece and was ‘a little tipsy’.
She said the alleged victim, who cannot be named, and the masseur, Henry Godfree, plotted together to ‘fabricate the incident’ to get compensation.
Mr Godfree has been forced to deny he is gay during the course of evidence at Cambridge Crown Court.
Brockleback told jurors she had only walked in on the victim because she was looking for towels and had found him posing on a furry throw.
She also denies perverting the course of justice by sending ‘offensive and threatening electronic communications’ to Mr Godfree between October 10 and November 2 last year.
The alleged messages included ‘Sorry, did I interrupt your gay time?’ and ‘Believe me, if this goes to court I will ruin the pair of you’.
The unnamed victim, who is a keen runner, said Brocklebank had earlier flirted with him and called him ‘darling’ as he waited for a sports massage from Mr Godfree.
Brocklebank, who runs the Huntingdon Spa and UK Sports Massage, insists she only touched the man’s calf muscles, which are not an ‘erogenous sexual zone’.
During a voluntary interview on October 23, the qualified sports massage therapist said she had been simply trying to ‘break the ice’ when she found the alleged victim in a compromising position.
She told officers he was lying on top of a ‘fluffy throw’ in a pose position, wearing stripy pants, with his ‘legs kicked up behind him’ when she entered the treatment room to get towels.
Brocklebank, 43, told the court today that when she entered the room, the victim was lying in a ‘pose’ position, and looked shocked and embarrassed
The Huntingdon Spa in Cambridgeshire, run by Ms Brocklebank. The victim was expecting a massage with Henry Godfree but she is said to have burst in on him ‘to get towels’
Brocklebank later told jurors she expected to find the sports massage room empty.
She said: ‘I was shocked, I saw (the alleged victim) lying there in his purple stripy pants on top of the fluffy throw.
‘I said “Are you waiting for Henry?” (He said) “He’s just gone to the bathroom, he will be back in a second.”
‘I picked up the towels from the left-hand side of the room and walked around the massage bed and placed them on the table, and while I was doing so I was talking to him at the same time.’
Mr Godfree has been forced to deny he is gay during the course of evidence in court
Brocklebank said she used the towels to cover herself as much as she could, telling him: ‘Sorry you have been left unattended, he’s always doing this. I will start massaging your calves until he gets here.’
‘We were both very uncomfortable,’ she added.
‘I know he knew I had caught him in the wrong position, the wrong way round with no towel, and I didn’t know what to say or do.’
‘As an ice-breaker, more than anything, because I felt awkward, was part of the reason I asked to massage his calf.’
She continued: ‘When he asked me to stop I couldn’t believe he was serious.
‘I said to him, “I’m a trained massage therapist. I will straighten your calf muscles out until Henry gets here”.’
Brocklebank added: ‘I think I may have interrupted something personal or inappropriate between him and Henry. It was the only thing that makes any sense as to why he reacted the way he did.’
Asked by her barrister, Emma Rance, what she thought was going on, Brocklebank said: ‘Something inappropriate.’
Responding to the allegation of sexual assault, she said: ‘Definitely not. Nothing sexual about it. I was embarrassed, I was concerned for my business, I didn’t know what was going on.
‘I’m still not sure to this day what was going on between the pair of them.’
Brocklebank admitted putting a lavender, lemongrass, rosemary and peppermint sports oil on her hands before massaging the alleged victim’s calf ‘for a matter of seconds’.
She said she stopped as soon as he told her: ‘No, I’m here for Henry.’
But she broke down in court as she recalled how Mr Godfree walked in and ‘started to have a go at me’.
‘It just made me feel old and useless,’ she said. ‘I didn’t do anything wrong, I didn’t do anything nasty.’
Brocklebank said she had been ‘a little bit tipsy’ rather than drunk, as described, and denied wearing a bikini, saying she’d been in a one-piece bathing suit
Brocklebank told the court today that she started giving the massage to the victim because she was shocked, and wanted to break the ice, and couldn’t believe when he asked her to stop. Left, at work at the Huntingdon Spa, and right, Brocklebank on holiday
She also told police she believed the alleged victim and Mr Godfree planned to ‘fabricate the incident’ to get compensation.
Giving evidence on Thursday Brocklebank said she was ‘just a little bit tipsy’ at the time of the incident, having drunk a glass of prosecco and two flutes of champagne.
She told jurors she was wearing a ‘conservative’ one-piece polka dot swimming costume because she had been relaxing in the hot tub with a friend and not a bikini.
Alexandra Wilkinson, a freelance therapist who worked at the spa, told the court that Brocklebank was ‘six out of ten drunk’ when she and her childhood friend Ashleigh Terry returned to the spa after lunch at 2pm.
Another member of staff told the court that Brocklebank, above, had been ‘six out of ten’ drunk
She said Brocklebank twice spilled a champagne glass on herself and added: ‘She was drunk.
‘Just the way she presented herself, like the way over the top and just not the way she spilled champagne twice – once could be a genuine mistake but happening again, it was a lack of control.’
Ms Wilkinson said she became aware of the alleged sexual assault after Brocklebank sent WhatsApp messages to employees which stated: ‘Of course I was messing with [the man], he took it badly and Tiny was a genuine mistake sorry.’
Jurors heard ‘Tiny’ referred to another client who was being seen by Mr Godfree and before the alleged sexual assault.
The court heard Mr Godfree sent Ms Wilkinson a screenshot of a letter of complaint by the alleged victim to the spa’s business Instagram page.
Ms Wilkinson said Mr Godfree also sent a series of messages to her announcing he was quitting his job and that Brocklebank ‘is in the s***’ and ‘[the man] emailing her another proper email about suing’.
Referring to when Ms Wilkinson was asked to pour champagne for Brocklebank shortly before the alleged sexual assault, he wrote: ‘She bosses you, you should leave and [the man] will back this up’.
Sobbing, Brocklebank told jurors: ‘They have already achieved what they set out to achieve. They have ruined my business, ruined my home and ruined my life.’
Brocklebank insisted there was ‘absolutely nothing sexual’ about the encounter.
She told jurors she had previously compared the alleged victim to actor and comedian Russell Brand, but did not find him attractive, preferring ‘more traditional, old-fashioned men – proper men’.
Brocklebank said being charged with sexual assault made her suicidal.
‘I was suicidal for about six months, I’ve been better the last couple of months but I’m not sure how I’m going to get over this now because it’s been all over the national press,’ she said.
Brocklebank later claimed that Mr Godfree had also been ‘inappropriate’ with her under cross-examination by prosecutor Stephen Mather.
She said she still ‘liked’ Mr Godfree until the day of the alleged attack added on her birthday on August 17: ‘He bought strawberry straws and said he wanted to cover me with them.
Giving evidence on Thursday she said she was ‘just a little bit tipsy’ at the time of the incident, having drunk a glass of prosecco and two flutes of champagne
‘He once uncovered me in a massage… he exposed me while he was giving me a massage.’
Mr Mather asked what she was suggesting when she told the court the alleged victim was on his front instead of his back.
She claimed she did not tell him his position was the wrong way around because she was ‘shocked’.
‘I don’t know why he was lying like that, I’ve no idea,’ she said.
‘I wouldn’t want him to turn over, I didn’t want a front view of him.’
She denied deriving any ‘sexual gratification’ from touching his leg, saying: ‘There are plenty places of where I would touch but I would never touch a man a hairy calf.’
Brocklebank also claimed she did not want the man to see her ‘behind’ but asked why she didn’t collect her towels and ‘go out backwards’, she said: ‘Maybe I’m not very good at reversing.’
She agreed when Judge Gareth Hawkesworth asked her: ‘It never crossed your mind touching him wearing only a swimming costume when your priority was getting a towel for your friend was not very sensible?’
The court heard Brocklebank trained to be a sports massage therapist in 2006 following the death of her father.
She set up her business in Cambridge in 2010 before relocating to Huntingdon, where she employed sports and beauty therapists on a freelance basis at £20 an hour.
Brocklebank denies sexual assault and an alternative charge of battery.
The trial continues.
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