An award-winning Downton Abbey producer with terminal cancer has been spared jail for undoing his trousers to perform a sex act behind a woman after she repeatedly refused his sexual advances, a court heard.
Chris Croucher, 39, made a series of sleazy advances on the woman during a Christmas party around Soho on December 18 2019.
Fueled by alcohol and cocaine, ‘sex pest’ Croucher tried to kiss her and repeatedly requested a ‘foursome’, Southwark Crown Court heard.
The screenwriter, who has worked on movies with Hollywood A-listers Scarlett Johansson, Natalie Portman and Kirsten Dunst, appeared in court via videolink.
Croucher, who the court was told has terminal cancer, was spared jail after admitting sexual and common assault.
But the defendant was handed a community order, a three-month curfew and was ordered to sign the Sex Offenders Register.
Award-winning Downton Abbey producer Chris Croucher, 39, made a series of sleazy advances on a woman during a Christmas party on December 18 2019, including undoing his trousers to perform a sex act behind her. (Pictured: In 2011, left, with actress Penny Ryder, director Chris Foggin and actress Judi Dench)
Croucher met the Duchess of Cambridge when she visited the cast and crew of Downton Abbey at Ealing Studios in London
Prosecutor Iestyn Morgan said Croucher had polished off several bottles of Rose wine at their group lunch before the party visited several Soho bars, including members club Quo Vadis.
When the group reduced to just four people – the two victims, Mr Croucher and another man – he tried to kiss his victim.
But she drew back and made it clear his advances were not welcome, the court heard.
‘When they left Quo Vadis he was leaning on her, holding her hand,’ said Mr Morgan.
Southwark Crown Court heard he is suffering from terminal cancer. Croucher was spared jail after admitting sexual and common assault. Pictured: At an event in 2018
‘He was saying in her ear he wanted to have sex with her.’
The producer got progressively drunker as the evening progressed and when he missed his train home, Croucher started touching the victim in the lift.
He was told to back off, but he continued asking the women for ‘a threesome, or a foursome’.
‘He was making jokes but it also appeared serious,’ Mr Morgan said. ‘The victim got up but he was following her. He took his top off, he pushed her against the wall and said ‘let’s have sex’,’
Mr Croucher continued making explicit sexual comments before the second woman told him ‘not to talk to her like that’.
‘As [the victim] was leaning over [to get her phone], Mr Croucher was standing behind her.
‘He is described as [performing a sex act] or touching himself whilst the victim was bending over in front of him. Her friend shouted at him to stop.’
When the victim pushed past him and tried to leave he tried to follow her, and she eventually had to hide in a shop when she saw him stumble after her outside.
‘As his trousers were undone he was too slow to follow her, she was able to get away,’ said the prosecutor.
The court heard Croucher also violently shook the second woman when she tried to help him into a taxi.
In an impact statement, the sexual assault victim said she had struggled to maintain friendships or trust men since the incident.
The defendant was handed a community order, a three-month curfew and was ordered to sign the Sex Offenders Register at Southwark Crown Court (pictured, stock photo)
She described being plagued with mental health problems, nightmares and intrusive thoughts about that night.
Francesca Levett, defending, said that while her client didn’t remember much of the evening, he offered an ‘unreserved apology’ to both women.
The barrister said that Croucher felt ‘shame’ and ‘shock’ at his behaviour during the incident.
Ms Levett said that Croucher, who went on to join Alcoholics Anonymous, and added: ‘He is thoroughly ashamed of himself and he has done his best to make amends since.’
The barrister added that Croucher had now lost his job and is reliant on benefits.
Croucher, who had missed several previous hearings due to his health, was now suffering from ‘terminal’ cancer, with tumours now in his heart and lungs.
‘His only option now is palliative care,’ said Ms Levett.
Judge Philip Bartle, QC, said the impact statement of the victims made for ‘ghastly’ reading and that Croucher had behaved like a ‘sex pest’ on the evening in question.
Croucher worked on the Emmy award-winning show Downton Abbey as well as The Other Boleyn Girl starring Scarlett Johnasson and Natalie Portman.
He was also an associate director on Wimbledon, with Paul Bethany and Kirsten Dunst.
Croucher, of Haselemere, Surrey, admitted sexual assault and common assault.
He was given a 12-month community order with a three-month 9PM-9AM curfew, and order to continue attending his AA meetings.
The judge also placed him on the sex offenders’ register for five years.
This post was first published on DailyMail.