Man, 35, charged with sexual assault after Brighton incident

A man has been charged in connection with an alleged sexual assault in Brighton.

Monday, 7th June 2021, 8:30 am

Police said the incident took place in Pavilion Gardens just before midnight on Wednesday 2 June. A teenage girl had walked to the gardens with two suspects via East Street and North Street.

After the alleged assault, they walked together along Old Steine and into Pool Valley, where the victim was assisted by members of the public, a spokesman added. Following enquiries, two people were arrested. The Crown Prosecution Service has since authorised charges against one suspect.

The spokesman said: “Ashley Lewis, 35, of Gloucester Gardens, London, is charged with sexual assault and theft of personal items including a bag, a bank card and mobile phone, belonging to the victim. He has been remanded in custody to appear before Brighton Magistrates’ Court on 7 June.

“A boy aged 17, arrested on suspicion of rape, remains released on conditional bail until 1 July, pending further enquiries.”

Officers are still appealing for anyone who witnessed anything suspicious in the area of East Street or Pavilion Gardens to come forward.

Detective Inspector Carrie Williams, of the Brighton and Hove Safeguarding Investigations Unit, said: “We are working to establish the circumstances of this incident and are appealing for help from the public.

“If you witnessed any suspicious behaviour in the Pavilion Gardens and East Street area between 11.20pm on 2 June and 12.10am on 3 June, or have any relevant CCTV or dash cam footage, please report it to us online or call 101, quoting Operation Varnish.

“We take reports of this nature extremely seriously and we are grateful to the members of the public who came forward to assist the victim. She is currently being supported by specially trained officers and officers will be completing high visibility patrols in the area for community reassurance.

“This incident is being treated as isolated and there is not thought to be any threat to the wider community.”