Essex

Council worker who posed as pilot jailed for dating app sex assault

Peter Ferguson Image copyright Essex Police
Image caption Peter Ferguson first posed as a pilot and then as a masseur to get into his victim's home

A council worker who posed as a pilot on a dating app before carrying out a sex attack on a woman has been jailed for two years and eight months.

Peter Ferguson made contact with her while pretending to be a pilot called Matt, using images he found online.

After she complained of being stiff, "Matt" offered to set up a massage at her home with a friend called Steve.

Ferguson's trial at Chelmsford Crown Court heard he then posed as Steve, touching her breasts and genitalia.

The court was told how, in September, Ferguson had visited the woman's home in the Highwoods area of Colchester, where he asked her to undress for the massage.

'A fraud'

His victim, who is in her 30s, tracked him down after searching "Steve's" mobile number online and finding a connection to Colchester Borough Council, where Ferguson worked.

Judge Emma Peters told 43-year-old Ferguson, of Keelers Way, Great Horkesley, Essex, that his "cruel deceit" had left his victim embarrassed and damaged "her confidence and self-esteem"

Sentencing him, the judge said: "You purported to be a young, attractive airline pilot; someone with an exciting lifestyle, who wanted a relationship. That was a fraud."

Michael Field, acting on behalf of Ferguson, said his client had faced a "perfect storm" of factors that had led him to seek validation on dating sites, including being overlooked for promotion and struggles in his marriage.

Ferguson, who was sentenced on Friday after being found guilty of sexual assault and assault by penetration in April, has been added to the sex offenders register for life.

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