UK

Entrepreneur who forced himself on woman at Christmas bash told to expect jail

A drunken venture capitalist who tried to molest a woman at a Christmas party at London’s Royal Festival Hall before boasting to police about his good looks was today warned he faces up to two-and-a-half years in jail.  

Pavel Grushin, 27, grabbed the woman’s wrist ‘very, very tightly’ in a lift after the corporate party before trying to kiss her, a court heard. 

The Cambridge graduate, who attended a £26,500-a-year private Mayfair college, had started his champagne-fuelled night out at a Pall Mall club before moving on to the exclusive members-only Tramp nightspot, near Piccadilly. 

In a powerful victim impact statement delivered in court today, the victim told how the attack caused her to suffer panic attacks and anxiety.

The incident also resulted in her profession and marriage being severely damaged. 

When arrested, Canary Wharf entrepreneur Grushin boasted about his looks to police and urged officers to check out his Instagram account, claiming the married 

He also urged officers to admire his Instagram account, claiming the married 33-year-old professional should have found him attractive.  

Grushin was due to be sentenced at Croydon Magistrates Court today, which is limited to six months imprisonment, but after delivering a highly-charged account of how the offence destroyed her life the case was sent to the Crown Court. 

Company director Pavel Grushin, 27, grabbed the woman and tried to kiss her after the Royal Festival Hall corporate Christmas party and is now facing two-and-a-half years in jail

District Judge Julie Cooper ruled it was a Category One offence due to the ‘severe psychological harm caused’, which carries a starting point of two-and-a-half years imprisonment.

Company director Grushin, of Kingston upon Thames, south-west London was a guest at the private event on December 12 of last year.

He was convicted of one count of attempted sexual assault and one count of common assault and was bailed for sentencing at Croydon Crown Court on a date to be fixed. He was also ordered to sign the sex offenders register.

‘I have heard from the young woman in these proceedings of the distress and psychological harm you have caused her,’ the judge told Grushin.

‘The guideline this offence falls into is Category One, with a starting point of two-and-a-half years imprisonment.

‘It was a prolonged incident and even if treated as a Category Two the starting point is one year’s custody.

‘This case clearly crosses the custodial threshold, obviously crosses it and I am sending you to the Crown Court for sentencing.

‘I suggest you instruct a solicitor, you will need it,’ she told the unrepresented first-time offender. ‘You must anticipate receiving a custodial sentence.

Grushin, of Samuel Gray Gardens, Kingston-upon-Thames, was convicted of one count of attempted sexual assault and one count of common assault and was bailed for sentencing at Croydon Crown Court on a date to be fixed

Grushin, of Samuel Gray Gardens, Kingston-upon-Thames, was convicted of one count of attempted sexual assault and one count of common assault and was bailed for sentencing at Croydon Crown Court on a date to be fixed

‘If the complainant can face the Crown Court with the courage she has shown today that is one matter, but if she can’t the Crown will read out her statement and it will be as powerful there as it was to me today.

‘Her courage is the exact opposite to your cowardice and that is something you should reflect on, the effect you have had on her.’

Grushin, a University of Cambridge graduate in Entrepreneurial Studies, was spotted by the victim loitering on an upper landing at 11pm.

‘He was leaning over the staircase bannister for balance, he looked to be very drunk and unsteady and I could hear him mumbling,’ she told the trial.

The woman entered a lift with Grushin and his two male companions. ‘He very quickly walked towards me and tried to corner me, with his arms raised and using his body so I couldn’t get around him.

‘His eyes were very glazed over and he seemed to be enjoying himself and I was immediately very frightened by his demeanour and expression.

‘His motive seemed sexual. I was afraid for my safety.

‘He followed me out of the lift and grabbed my right wrist very, very tightly and pulled me in his direction, back towards the lift.

‘He said: ‘Come on,’ a few times and I just kept saying: ‘No,’ loudly, firmly and very clearly.

‘To escape, I kept walking backwards and his mouth was puckered as if leaning in for a kiss and I placed my hand on his chest to push him away as he leaned in three times to kiss me.

‘I firmly pushed with all my body strength and he stumbled back and stopped.

Grushin was a guest at the private Royal Festival Hall (pictured) corporate Christmas party held on December 12 last year

Grushin was a guest at the private Royal Festival Hall (pictured) corporate Christmas party held on December 12 last year

‘Afterwards I burst into tears and there was a big red mark on my wrist, like a Chinese burn.’

Grushin had begun his night out at a Pall Mall club and ended it at Tramp, insisting he limited himself to two glasses of champagne and two glasses of wine.

After being arrested at home over a month later he told police he had ‘social status’ and had met ‘many’ women.

When officers asked if he thought the victim was attracted to him he replied: ‘She could have been. Look at me.’

Describing himself as ‘very successful’ Grushin urged the officers to check his Instagram account, where he could be seen ‘hanging out with cool people’.

He told the trial: ‘I absolutely, categorically did not touch her,’ but contradicted himself immediately by saying: ‘It is possible I friendly patted her, but I don’t remember.’

Grushin denied cornering the victim in the lift, claiming he was reaching for the buttons.

Today, from behind a screen the emotional woman, who has quit her career because it involves large crowds who have usually consumed alcohol, outlined the devastating effects of Grushin’s actions.

‘I had an anxiety attack when I visited the Royal Festival Hall because of the close proximity and because it was on the same floor as where I was attacked,’ she said.

‘I was overwhelmed and the thought of facing members of the public with alcohol reminded me of December.

‘I had flashbacks of this man trapping me in the lift and trying to grope me, or even worse try to rape me.

‘I hyperventilated and had a panic attack. I felt faint and had to lie down until my breathing returned to normal after ten to fifteen minutes.

‘I never had panic attacks before and this added to my stress.’

She was forced to begin therapy sessions a month after the incident to help control her anxiety and has since attended psychotherapy sessions for sexual trauma.

‘I have had sleepless nights, I can’t shut this off and can’t sleep. I had a nightmare about a man trying to break in and try to kiss me and this woke me up.

‘The thought of returning to that lobby scares me and my heart races.’

A doctor says he symptoms are consistent with post-traumatic stress disorder and she has been prescribed sleeping pills, antidepressants and an inhaler to assist her breathing.

‘I am incredibly anxious and normally scared and I am too frightened to go in lifts alone because the last time I was alone a stranger attacked me and I thought I would be raped.

Hearing the case at Croydon Magistrates Court (pictured) District Judge Julie Cooper ruled it was a Category One offence due to the 'severe psychological harm caused', which carries a starting point of two-and-a-half years imprisonment, and sent it to Crown Court for sentencing

Hearing the case at Croydon Magistrates Court (pictured) District Judge Julie Cooper ruled it was a Category One offence due to the ‘severe psychological harm caused’, which carries a starting point of two-and-a-half years imprisonment, and sent it to Crown Court for sentencing

‘The crime has had an effect on my marriage, I feel I don’t want to be touched intimately and my marriage relationship is not the same.’

She told the court she ‘broke down in tears’ after a family gathering and was even ‘uneasy and anxious’ during an online party.

‘It makes me angry, what this man has done to me,’ she said. ‘He has taken so much from me in both my professional and personal life.’

Prosecutor Brinkman May told the court today: ‘The victim was standing next to the control panel and Mr. Grushin entered and moved towards he with his arms out and cornered her.

‘She was alarmed by his actions and scared that she was in a lift with a strange person. She was corned and had to push past him.

‘Mr Grushin grabbed her by the wrist and said something to the effect of: ‘Come on,’ and ignored her refusal.

‘He dragged her about five paces back to the lift and she was scared about what he would do if he got her back into the lift.’

A cleaner witness confirmed the victim repeatedly saying: ‘No, no,’ to Grushin.

‘He then leant down with puckered lips and attempted to kiss her three times and mumbled something about ‘kissing’ on the third push.’ 

Grushin told the court he did not want any legal representation and ‘couldn’t afford it.’

Turning to him, District Judge Cooper said: ‘Having heard from the young woman in these proceedings of the distress and psychological harm you have caused her, it tells me that the sentencing guidelines would indicate that this offence really falls into what is called Category One where there is severe psychological harm.

‘This case clearly crossed the custodial threshold, absolutely, positively. And because of that, and because of the categorisation in which I place it, I am sending you to the Crown Court for sentence.

‘I suggest you instruct a solicitor immediately to assist you, you will need it and you must anticipate a custodial sentence.

‘The victim impact statement will be as powerful to the Crown Court as it has been today.’

She added: ‘Given that you had the trial in these proceedings and forced this young woman to give evidence does not go in your favour because her courage is the extreme opposite to your cowardice in that matter.’

Grushin will next appear at Croydon Crown Court on a date to be confirmed.


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