Tannadice sex attack victim slams sentence

The attack occurred at Tannadice Stadium. Picture: SNS
The attack occurred at Tannadice Stadium. Picture: SNS
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A WOMAN sexually assaulted in the stands at Dundee United’s Tannadice stadium by the Premiership club’s former stadium manager today blasted the decision not to jail him.

Albert Dawson - who also acts as the club’s award-winning head groundsman - launched the attack on the woman in the East Stand at the Premiership club’s ground in 2011.

Dawson walked up behind her as she carried out her job near a catering kiosk and said: “What are you doing?”

He then stood behind her and put his arms around her, pulling her close to him before touching her breasts and genitals.

A sheriff branded his behaviour “totally unacceptable” - but gave him a community payback order instead of a jail term.

Victim ‘wanted Dawson jailed’

Today his victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said: “I really, really wanted him to be jailed.

“He’s got to live with it.

“I was annoyed when I first heard the sentence, but it’s up to the courts.

“It’s just a relief that it’s over.”

She added that she is seeking a meeting with Tannadice chairman Stephen Thompson over the sacked groundsman’s actions and the club’s handling of the incident.

Dawson was allowed to remain in his job until last month - more than 18 months after he admitted the incident to the club.

He was only removed from his post after he pled guilty in court to the charge.

‘Touched while at work’

At an earlier hearing, fiscal depute Eilidh Robertson told Dundee Sheriff Court: “He touched her breasts over her clothing, put his hands between her legs and cupping her genitals over her clothing for a few seconds.

“He thereafter walked away as she became extremely shocked and upset.

“She ran out of the stand and found a groundsman who was nearby and told him what was happening.

“The groundsman could see she was upset.

“She subsequently went home, still upset and crying, and told her partner about the incident.

“She said ‘that dirty b*****d had his hand between my legs’.”

The woman then raised a complaint with her line manager at the club - but said she didn’t want the police involved at that point.

Dawson was then confronted by club bosses and admitted his behaviour - telling them: “I grabbed her from behind.”

Dawson claimed ‘horseplay’

But despite admitting the attack Dawson was only given a warning and was allowed to keep his job.

He was eventually sacked last month after he admitted the attack.

Miss Robertson added: “The accused did not speak to the complainer for some time, however at the start of last football season he made a further comment towards her that made her feel uncomfortable and it was at this point she decided to report the incident to police.

“She was hysterically upset while disclosing the matter to them.

“The following week she left her job and went on sick leave.

“The accused was interviewed in relation to this matter by police and said ‘I held my hands up to that - I had been mucking about with the lass and I went too far’.

“He admitted he had cupped her genitals and couldn’t provide any defence for his actions.”

Dawson, 49, of Victoria Street, Forfar, pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting the woman at Tannadice Park on one occasion between February 1 2011 and April 30 2011.

Bob Bruce, defending, said: “This was done as an act of horseplay that went too far.”

‘Nightmare’

Sheriff Tom Hughes placed Dawson on a three year community payback order with supervision and placed him on the sex offender’s register for three years.

Dawson’s victim earlier said she was relieved that he had come clean in court.

She said: “I’m over the moon - it’s not a case of his word against mine any more.

“Relieved doesn’t cover it and it’s caught me off guard.

“Everybody said I was making it up and now it has been proven that I was telling the truth.

“These past two years have been a nightmare for me.

“I’m prone to panic attacks now and for the past month they have been getting worse.

“I regret not reporting it earlier. Now I can just get on with the rest of my life.”

Dawson looked after the pitch at Tannadice from 2000 until last month.

He became the first person to win the Scottish Groundsman of the Year award, given out by the Institute of Groundsmanship.

He was given the award for the SPL as well as the overall prize for best in the country.