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A wife whose husband molested another woman as she slept next to him in bed has vowed to stand by him despite him being jailed for more than three years.
Joe Holtham, 33, was found guilty of groping the woman he and his wife Sarah ended up sharing a bed with at a hotel after a wedding because one of the couples couldn't find their room key.
The businessman put his hand on the other woman's bottom and tried to undo her dress in the night as Sarah slept next to him.
He was originally given a suspended sentence by a judge at Gloucester Crown Court after a jury returned majority guilty verdicts on two counts of penetration.
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But three appeal judges quashed it and imposed a jail term of three years and six months.
However Sarah is still standing by him, the Sun reports.
Speaking at the family home in Henley-in-Arden, Warks, a family member told the Sun: “We are on Joe and Sarah’s side of the fence."
Asked if the couple were still together, she said: “Oh yes, very much so. And they will stay together, as well. I can tell you that 100%.
“There’s no animosity towards Joe. None whatsoever – and there never has been. We believe he is innocent."
The consultant went to bed with his wife to his right, another woman to his left and a third woman on the far side while the third woman's partner slept on the floor, the court heard.
Holtham denied groping the woman next to him as she slept, insisting he only touched her when he put his hand on her bottom thinking she was his wife.
Prosecutor Michael Hall told the court the Holthams were guests at a wedding in Tetbury, together with the other couple and the victim.
That night, he said the couple could not find their room key and that meant the victim was also locked out of her room because she had left her key in theirs so it was agreed they would all share the Holthams’ room.
Mr Hall told the court: "She says she froze. It took her a moment or two to come round – obviously, all the parties had been drinking.
"She lay there still pretending to be asleep in the hope it would stop. But what happened next was that she found her wrap-around dress was being undone.
"She had it tied at her right hip. She was lying on her left side. She felt her dress being undone."
Mr Hall said the woman lay still until she believed Mr Holtham had gone back to sleep then she got up, went to the bathroom, then lay on the floor.
During an interview with Gloucestershire Police, Holtham said he may have put his hand accidentally on the woman's bottom but that would have been because he was used to his wife sleeping on that side of him.
At one point he tried to wake her and he was moving around a lot on the bed and saying he was "really hot", she claimed.
When she had left the hotel room, he texted her saying: "Would you mind chatting when we get a moment to ourselves? Sorry."
She said she received two other texts from him asking if she was okay and why she was blanking him and he also tried to phone her once.
The woman had not responded to the messages and had not spoken to him since the incident, she added.
Giving evidence, Holtham told the jury he did not do any of the things the woman had alleged but he did “feel her bottom” and added his wife normally slept on that side of him at home.
He said: "I don't know how long I did it for but I actually stopped myself when I realised who it was. I thought it was Sarah.
"I told my wife about it in the morning and I sent the woman a text saying sorry.
"I touched her bum – over her underwear – but then I came around and stopped myself from doing it."
- In the News
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