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The BBC's Duncan Kennedy
"The girl's family said they were satisfied with the verdict"
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Friday, 8 September, 2000, 13:22 GMT 14:22 UK
Straw's brother on sex register
William Straw
William Straw: Denied the charge of indecent assault
The brother of Home Secretary Jack Straw has been found guilty of an indecent assault on a 16-year-old girl.

William Straw, 47, of Bramcote in Nottingham, will be placed on the sex offenders' register for the next five years.

Straw had denied the charge at Nottingham Magistrates' Court.

I realised it was a be alone with her in her home

William Straw
But stipendiary magistrate Peter Nettle found him guilty of assaulting the girl at her home in April and fined him 750 and 275 costs.

Giving evidence Straw said he agreed with the majority of what the girl said had happened, but he denied ever actually touching her.

The father-of-two said he had been on his own, feeling low and was reaching out to a friendly face.

The court heard how Straw, an Open University administrator, bumped into the girl, who was a friend of the family, while she was out shopping on 19 April.

He asked her to come to his home to see his new dog.

'I had not asked him in'

The girl refused, saying she had GCSE revision to do.

But Straw rang her at home later and repeated his offer.

The girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told the court Straw then rode his bike around to her house.

Straw, a father-of-two, then invited himself into the girl's house, the court was told.

"He came in to the kitchen and asked if I was okay," the girl told the court.

"I had not asked him to come in, I felt worried and nervous but I offered him a cup of tea because he is a friend of the family."

She said Straw, who is married but separated, started talking to her and touched her on the stomach, below the crop top she was wearing.

'Family friend'

The girl said Straw then asked if he could have a look at her bedroom.

"I started to get more worried but he was a family friend so I said yes," she told the court.

She said Straw sat on her bed and commented on how soft it was.

When they went to leave the room, the girl said Straw put his hands on her hips.

"He started rubbing my hips and staring at my breasts. I told him he was scaring me and he seemed to snap out of a trance," she told the court.

The girl said Straw then apologised and went back downstairs and left a short time afterwards.


In Straw's account, he said he had gone to the house wanting "someone to talk to".

He said: "On the stairs I stopped and turned and put my hands out to her - I'm not quite sure why I did it, and when she said she was scared that's when I realised it was a mistake for me, a 47-year-old man, to be alone with her in her home."

The court heard Straw had been referred a psychiatrist a month before the incident and was prescribed anti-depressants.

The magistrate said that while he found both credible witnesses, the version of events given by the girl seemed to hold more truth.

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