Andy Bonner reporting from outside Chester Crown Court
Former World Darts Champion Ted Hankey has been jailed for two years after he was caught on camera sexually assaulting a young woman.
Hankey, who acted with an "air of entitlement" was filmed carrying out the attack in Cheshire, and was immediately arrested after the victim reported the assault to police.
The 54-year-old pleaded guilty to one count of sexual assault, in September 2021, at Warrington Magistrates’ Court in April.
Jailing him, Judge Steven Everett, Recorder of Chester, said Hankey, of Berry Hill, Stoke-on-Trent, would have "denied it to the bitter end" if the attack had not been caught on film.
He was given an immediate two-year jail term and has been placed on the Sexual Offenders Register for the next 10 years.
After being arrested Hankey denied committing the offence, and - after being shown the video footage - answered 'no comment'.
His victim said she has been left scared and depressed since the assault last September.
Footage of the attack was played to the judge after the court had been cleared of the press and members of the public.
Passing sentence, Judge Everett told him: “You genuinely believed nobody would believe her, until you were shown the damning evidence."
He added: "You treated her as an object for your own disgusting and deviant sexual desires.
"Your self-pity about the loss of status and ability to earn money – I’m sure you will never play darts again on television.”
In a victim impact statement read to the court, the woman said she now suffers continuing distress, panic attacks and heart palpitations.
She added: “As a result of this crime I believe I have developed PTSD.
“This crime has had a major impact on my mental health. I’m very distrusting of males. I find it very difficult to have any physical contact with others.”
Following the sentencing Detective Constable Laura Bradshaw, of the Cheshire Police Public Protection Directorate, who led the investigation said: "Firstly I would like to commend the victim for the courage and bravery that see has shown throughout the investigation.
"The evidence she provided proved vital in Hankey’s prosecution and left him with no option but to plead guilty to the charge against him.
"While the victim will never be able to forget what Hankey subjected her to, I do hope that the conclusion of this case provides some closure and enables her to move forward with her life.
"I also hope that this case encourages other victims of sexual offences to come forward and report them to us."
District Crown Prosecutor Brian Forshaw, a specialist lawyer with CPS Mersey Cheshire’s Rape and Serious Sexual Offences (RASSO) unit, said: "The Crown Prosecution Service and Cheshire Police had damning evidence of this assault and Mr Hankey thankfully pleaded guilty at an early stage. He has now been sentenced.
"The evidence she secured of the assault was crucial to this case and no doubt led to Mr Hankey’s guilty plea.
"Mr Hankey is now a convicted sex offender and this case may have prevented further offending.
"It can be hard to tell the authorities about abuse, but we would like to say to victims that we will help and support you to give your best evidence and bring your abuser to justice."
Edward 'Ted' Hankey is a British former professional darts player and two-time World Champion.
He recently withdrew from the 2022 World Seniors Darts Championships which took place in February.
If you have been a victim of sexual abuse, or know of someone who has, call police on 101 or visit the website.
Information can also be reported anonymously, via Crimestoppers, on 0800 555 111.
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