Stephen Fingleton, 35, allegedly attacked the woman after meeting her at a British Film Institute event in Leicester Square in October 2017
An actress who claims she was sexually assaulted by a Bafta-nominated director told a friend he had been ‘her Harvey Weinstein’, a court heard.
Stephen Fingleton, 35, allegedly attacked the woman after meeting her at the opening gala night of the British Film Institute’s film festival in October 2017.
The pair then scheduled to meet for lunch, but the actress suggested the director came to her three-bedroom flat, which she also used as an office, for a ‘business meeting’ instead.
‘She had invited him to her home for lunch to discuss the possibility that she might be cast in one of his films,’ prosecutor Jocelyn Ledward told Isleworth Crown Court.
‘During that meeting, he assaulted her. The defendant says that it simply did not happen.’
Fingleton arrived at the woman’s home on October 27, 2017 and the pair sat at a table discussing work.
But the director then began a ‘sexual conversation out of the blue’ and asked if she had done any nudity on film, the court heard.
The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has previously had ‘minor roles’ in two Hollywood films.
‘At the time the raising of sexual topics did not alarm her,’ said the prosecutor.
‘She told the defendant she was a recovering alcoholic and a sex addict and that she had attended AA meetings.
‘Seemingly out of the blue the defendant touched her shoulder and she started to feel uncomfortable.
‘She said nothing. She went into the kitchen to make tea. The defendant cornered her and forced her to push past him.
‘He brought up sexual topics and made the victim feel uncomfortable. He pulled her towards him and tried to kiss her.’
The actress tried to defuse the situation by suggesting they watch one of her films in the living room.
But he kept insisting they move into a darker room, like her bedroom, as he had a projector app on his phone.
The actress later told a friend Fingleton had ‘been totally her Harvey Weinstein’ (pictured left), Isleworth Crown Court heard
When she went to the kitchen to make tea, he told her she had forgotten a pair of her underwear in the washing machine, and she felt embarrassed and bent to pick it up.
‘As she did so, he grabbed the top of her head and pushed it towards his crotch.
‘The defendant said: “You need to keep your head there, keep it there,”‘ said Ms Ledward. He then allegedly asked her to perform a sex act on him.
When the actress told him that she thought this was a business meeting, the director said ‘I do not separate the two’, the court heard.
Fingleton eventually left at around 3:30pm, after spending more than two hours in her flat. The actress later told a friend she had been sexually assaulted.
In a reference to the disgraced Hollywood mogul, the prosecutor said: ‘She met with a friend and said he had been totally her Harvey Weinstein’.
Harvey Weinstein was accused of sexually assaulting multiple women over a period of 30 years in October 2017
Fingleton had texted the woman 15 minutes after leaving her flat, saying: ‘Thank you for making lunch.
‘It was lovely spending time with you and seeing your film.’
But the woman later contacted police and in an interview the director denied assaulting her.
He said he would never take advantage of his position and that she had been the one to introduce sexual topics to the conversation.
Fingleton denied any sexual touching and claimed he was trying to gauge her suitability for an acting role.
Giving evidence behind a screen, the actress said: ‘He asked me whether I had done any nudity before.
‘I said no. He said that I looked like I had been with a girl before. I asked him why he said that and he said that girls like to explore.’
She said it was a bit odd that he was asking those questions, but at that stage she thought it might be related to his film.
But the actress began to feel uncomfortable when he deliberately touched her shoulder as he went to retrieve a notebook, the court heard.
Fingleton is a writer and director who has made a number of films. His debut, ‘The Battersea Ripper,’ was screened at the Screentest Festival in Bristol in 2006.
In 2015, Fingleton’s film ‘Survivalist’ was selected for Bafta’s Brits to Watch: The Screenings event and he was also chosen as Bafta’s Breakthrough Brit.
The director was nominated by Bafta in the Outstanding Debut category a year later.
Fingleton, of Enniskellen, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, denies sexual assault.
The trial continues.
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