Man faces prison for tricking staff at Kenilworth hotel into handing over key card for drunken woman’s room
A man who tricked staff at a Kenilworth hotel into giving him a key card to a drunken woman’s room by posing as her partner is likely to be facing a prison sentence.
Kieran Sodhi had denied a charge of trespass with intent to commit a sexual offence after letting himself into the woman’s room at the Chesford Grange Hotel in January last year.
But after more than seven hours a jury at Warwick Crown Court found him guilty by a majority of 11-1, although they could not reach a verdict on a further charge of sexual assault.
The case was adjourned for the prosecution to consider whether to ask for a retrial on that allegation, and for a pre-sentence report to be prepared on him.
Sodhi (30) of Spoonley Wood Court, Littleover, Derby, was granted bail, but Judge Andrew Lockhart QC warned: “In granting you bail, I give you absolutely no promises that the final outcome will not be a custodial sentence.”
Prosecutor Alex Warren said that in January last year Sodhi was staying at the Chesford Grange for a works do, and the woman, who was in her 20s, was also attending a function there and staying overnight.
She had too much to drink and, incapable of standing unaided, was helped back to her room by two men from her party at around one in the morning, using her key card to get in.
Sodhi, who had met her on a previous occasion and had been talking to her during the evening when they had both gone outside for a cigarette, had a room on a different floor.
But as the two men were putting her on the bed, fully clothed, they saw Sodhi outside her room, and he asked whether she was OK and told them that she needed to be given some water.
They said they would give her some tap water, but he was insistent he would get some from the bar, and they were concerned about his intentions, so waited with her in the room.
When he had not returned after 20 minutes, they left, with her still lying on the bed fully clothed.
“She has no recollection of being put to bed. The next thing she remembers is waking up the next morning to the sound of a mobile phone alarm.
“She realised it was not her phone, and that there was somebody else in her room with her. It was the defendant.
“She was under the covers in bed, undressed and wearing only her knickers, and the defendant was sitting on the other side of the double bed, fully clothed.”
She asked if anything had gone on, and he said no, and that he was just looking after her, and she told him to get out – and after later speaking to her mother, the police were contacted.
CCTV recordings showed Sodhi going to her room after she had been taken there, and then leaving and, after going outside, getting a glass of water from the bar.
He then went to the reception desk where, the jury heard, he claimed to be her partner and asked for a duplicate key card to her room.
Having seen information she had provided when she had checked in, Sodhi was able to answer a security question about her home address, and was issued with a key card which he used to let himself into her room.
He left after a while, leaving the key card behind, and returned to his own room, but at just after three in the morning, having changed his clothes, he again went to reception.
He told a female receptionist his girlfriend was asleep and he did not want to wake her, and was again given a duplicate key card after answering the security question.
Sodhi let himself into the young woman’s room at 3.09am and did not return to his own room until 7.32 after she had woken and told him to get out.
Giving evidence, Sodhi claimed he had acted only out of concern for her wellbeing, because a cousin of his had died after choking on his own vomit after getting drunk.
He denied lying to get a key card, claiming he had given an honest account to the receptionists he spoke to – and that both of them had given him a card without asking a security question.
Asked by his solicitor Nick Devine whether he had ‘any sexual designs on her,’ he replied: “No.”
He said that after checking on her, he had gone back to his own room, but could not sleep because of noise from another room, so had decided to get dressed and go home – but wanted to check on her again before leaving, as he had told her he would do.
“When you went in on the subsequent occasion was it your intention to commit a sexual act?” asked Mr Devine. Sodhi, who denied removing the woman’s clothes, again replied: “No.”
But Mr Warren put to the jury that ‘the only reasonable inference’ was that Sodhi had taken off her clothing and that he had ‘intended to commit a sexual offence on her or an offence of voyeurism by watching her asleep.’