Exclusive: Fieldfisher staffer guilty of sex attack on paralegal
08 July 2016
IT worker has been convicted of sexually assaulting a young paralegal in the ladies loos at the firm's Christmas party.
The paralegal attended the party on the 9th floor of Fieldfisher's London office with over 200 other staff last December when IT helpdesk worker Varun Krishnakumar approached and introduced himself. After shaking her hand, he asked to take a selfie with her. Preferring not to have pictures of herself on random men's phones, she refused. In testimony given on Monday at Krishnakumar's trial for sexual assault at the Old Bailey, she told the court that she became aware of Krishnakumar "staring
" at her wherever she went at the party. In tears on the witness stand, she said, "I felt uncomfortable but I didn't feel unsafe because I was at work
But she said that as she washed her hands in the women's bathroom later that evening, Krishnakumar put his head round the door. Instead of retreating when she explained to him that he was in the wrong loos, he came in saying, "It's fine, don't worry about it"
||The 9th floor of Fieldfisher's London office
The six foot tall IT contractor then grabbed her from behind and tried to carry her into a cubicle. When she fought back, he hitched up her skirt and pulled down her tights. She hit him on the nose and although "he looked surprised",
she said he didn't stop but "nuzzled
" her. The paralegal told the court she was terrified as she thought she would be raped, but thought, "I cannot let this happen to me"
Her cries for help were heard by a trainee in the men's loos next door. The trainee, who cannot be named, burst in and surprised the attacker. CCTV footage of the Fieldfisher party showed Krishnakumar swiftly exiting the toilets and leaving the building. The quick-thinking trainee called the police, who spotted Krishnakumar walking in the other direction as they drove to Riverbank House. He was detained and taken back to the office, where he was identified by his victim and arrested.
Krishnakumar's defence claimed that he entered the ladies loos by accident while the paralegal was in a stall, and started washing his hands with no idea that she was there. His barrister suggested that when she left her cubicle, she was so shocked at seeing a man that she screamed, and subsequently made up the assault. However the jury found the IT worker guilty on Wednesday, and he will be sentenced on 4 August.
A spokesman for Fieldfisher told RollOnFriday, "Varun Krishnakumar was hired into our IT Helpdesk team on a short-term contract. Following his arrest on 3rd December Varun was suspended from work while the firm co-operated fully with the police, and he left the firm shortly afterwards
". He added, "The thoughts of everyone at the firm are with the victim at this time