Police officer accused of fondling woman Alton Towers trip is sacked

Engaged police officer accused of fondling a woman’s breasts after playing drinking games during a trip to Alton Towers is dismissed from the force for gross misconduct

  • PC Thomas Hall has been sacked by Kent Police after the incident in July 2020
  • He was accused of fondling the woman while she was asleep in her hotel room 
  • He claimed he had ‘cuddled’ her to make her feel better after she became upset
  • A police misconduct panel said it was ‘greatly concerned’ by his off-duty actions 

An engaged police officer accused of fondling a woman after a boozy trip to Alton Towers has been dismissed from the force.

PC Thomas Hall was with a group playing drinking games when he offered to escort his victim back to her hotel room.

An argument had broken out during the evening which had upset the woman, so Hall offered to comfort her.

He admitted to ‘cuddling’ and ‘spooning’ his victim after getting back to her room shortly after midnight in an effort to make her feel better.

But the woman said Hall was fondling her breasts and squeezing her when she woke during the night.

PC Thomas Hall, pictured right, was accused of fondling the woman in bed after playing drinking games and escorting her back to her hotel room

Speaking at a police misconduct hearing at Kent Police headquarters in Northfleet she said: ‘After we had gone to bed I woke up to PC Hall running his hands over me and touching my breasts.’

She told how Hall then tucked his hand under the waistband of her shorts and underwear without her consent.

The woman said she had not been able to react or protest because she was ‘scared and in shock as to what happened’.

Hall, who was 18-months into the role, had been attending the theme park with a group on 15 and 16 July 2020.

Upon arrival, they had gone to Stepping Stones pub for a drinking session before loading up on more booze at an Aldi supermarket for an after party at the hotel they had booked.

The woman told someone what happened the next day, who asked if she wanted to file a complaint and attend a police station.

But Hall, who was due to be married at the time of the incident, denied the allegations, saying the woman was clearly ‘very distressed’ which is why he escorted back to her room.

He said: ‘I took my jeans off and got into bed. She went into the bathroom and then joined me.

‘We just spoke about her home life. There was no sexual conversation at all.’

He said their conversations had consisted mainly of ‘chit-chat’, but they also discussed problems the woman was experiencing.

During the conversation which lasted around an hour they had engaged in some spooning – a type of cuddling.

He said: ‘I was the big spoon and she was the little spoon.

‘She didn’t object, she just said okay and that was it.

‘She didn’t seem uncomfortable or put out like she was not happy to do that.

‘It felt like the appropriate thing to do to comfort her.

‘There was no sexual intent or motivation whatsoever.

The incident took place during an off-duty trip to Alton Towers in January 2020. PC Hall denied there was any sexual intent in his actions [Stock photo]

‘Looking back it was the wrong thing to do but at the time I thought I was doing the right thing.’

Mr Hall’s barrister Nicholas Yeo described the woman’s recollection of the night as a ‘vague, imagined account’, riddled with inconsistencies, which had been dreamed up while in a ‘sleepy tipsy state’.

But the victim’s barrister Simon Walsh said for the woman, the evening was not a dream but a living ‘nightmare’.

He said Hall had ‘overstepped’ the mark and had only attempted to redress for his actions when the woman became evasive and jittery the next day.

On the balance of probabilities, the panel found the events described by the woman did take place.

Panel chair Arwell Jones said: ‘Those who suffer from sexual abuse can suffer the consequences for a long time afterwards.

‘The people of Kent would be appalled to learn of how one of their officers was behaving.’

Several mitigating factors including good character references and testimony from PC Hall’s colleagues which said he was a trustworthy and hard working team member were taken into account.

But the panel said it was ‘greatly concerned’ by PC Hall’s actions whilst off duty and considered his continued denial of the allegation, which he dismissed as a made-up ‘dream’, as a lack of remorse.

It concluded PC Hall’s actions had amounted to gross misconduct and therefore warranted his immediate dismissal without notice.

PC Hall has been sacked from his job at Kent Police. Pictured is Kent Police Headquarters in Northfleet, where the misconduct hearing took place

They said this was the only satisfactory course of action to maintain public confidence in the police, the panel said.

Detective Superintendent John Phillips said: ‘Hall’s behaviour was completely inappropriate and demonstrated a serious lack of respect, and decency.

‘His conduct seriously undermines the trust the public can have in him to complete his duties in line with the standards expected of him.

‘We took immediate steps to suspend him from duties, review all available evidence and put the case to an independent chair.

‘Upon hearing the evidence, the independent chair dismissed him without notice. We will now take steps to ensure Hall never works in a policing environment again.

‘We expect the highest standards of conduct and professionalism from our officers and staff at all times.

‘The vast majority of our employees serve in line with these expectations, and do an outstanding job serving the communities they represent.

‘Those who fall short, however, will always be held accountable.’

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