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Best man sent to jail for 'despicable' wedding rape at castle

By This is Gloucestershire  |  Posted: January 14, 2011

Jailed: Michael Hughes

​A BEST man who lured a lesbian guest to his luxury hotel room and raped her on a four-poster bed has been jailed for six years.
Cirencester man Michael Hughes, 23, had told the woman he wanted to show her his “lush” room at the Clearwell Castle wedding venue in the Forest of Dean.
But when he got her into the room he locked the door behind her and raped her, Gloucester Crown Court heard.
Hughes, of Bowling Green Crescent, had been taking cocaine and had earlier “flunked” his speech at the wedding reception. After the rape, he also made unwelcome sexual advances to another woman.
Judge Jamie Tabor QC told him: “What you did that night was despicable. And I am as certain as I can be that cocaine fuelled your inherent arrogance.”
Hughes had denied rape on March 17 last year and claimed that the woman willingly had sex with him, but he was convicted at the end of a four-day trial.
Prosecutor Sarah Regan told the court that in 2005 Hughes had been arrested for an alleged offence of sexual assault by penetration during a house party where a woman got drunk and went to sleep on a sofa with him holding her hand.
The woman drifted off to sleep and awoke to find Hughes with his hands inside her underwear.
Judge Tabor said: “I am not here to judge whether he acted unlawfully in that case, but the fact he was arrested at that time for an offence of non-consensual sexual activity should have put him very much on his guard thereafter about his relationship with women.”
As well as jailing Hughes for six years, the judge also ordered him to sign the sex offenders’ register for the rest of his life.
He also ordered that when Hughes is released from prison on parole he should undergo a sex offender treatment programme.
“You are exactly the sort of person who needs to learn how to respect women,” he said.
“I have seen you and watched you over the last few days and you have shown no remorse.
“You put a vulnerable woman through an ordeal in court which was quite avoidable if you’d had the guts and courage to own up to what you had done.”


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