Alleged charity worker sexual attack victim ‘feared rape’

A woman told a jury that she was sexually assaulted by a Royal British Legion worker after he visited her home to assess her application for help.

The woman, giving evidence at Lincoln Crown Court, said that Michael Furniss, a voluntary caseworker for the RBL, rubbed her thigh and then moved his hand inside her pants.

“He seemed to be a very pleasant, jovial chap.

“I was sitting at the table. He kept leaning forward. I felt uncomfortable. I was wearing a skirt. He kept grabbing my knee and sliding his hand up.

“I felt very embarrassed.”

The woman, who is in her 50s and suffers from a number of medical conditions, said Furniss then moved his hand inside her pants before quickly pulling away.

“I just sat there. I couldn’t believe there was a predator in my house and I’d let him in.”

She said that during the visit Furniss talked about his sex life and said he could take her to a RBL hotel for a break.

Before he left, she said, he hugged her, made a gesture about her breasts and then kissed her on the lips.

“When he left I just went into the bathroom and I threw up.”

Another woman, in her 60s, told the jury that Furniss left her terrified she would be raped.

The woman said Furniss turned up without warning at her home and tried to kiss her. She said “He had the weirdest look on his face. He had his tongue out as he came towards me. He just said he’d come for some fun.

“He knew I was on my own. I thought he was going to rape me. I was frightened to death.”

She said Furniss hugged her on an earlier visit to assess her application for help from the RBL and then repeatedly phoned her.

“There were countless phone calls. He was very crude. I’m really naive. It’s stuff I don’t know about.”

She said she changed her phone number to stop him contacting her.

Furniss, 61, of Shuttleworth Court, North Hykeham, denies one charge of assault by penetration and five charges of sexual assault involving a total of four women.

The charges relate to the period between 2013 and 2017. He denies any of the incidents happened.

The trial continues.