Friday 8 October 2021 11:39 am

Former Eversheds trainee solicitor stands trial for raping law student at house party

A trial into alleged sexual assault by a former Eversheds Sutherland trainee solicitor has started.

Tom Hagyard is being accused of raping a law student before sexually assaulting another female, while attending a house party – within weeks of joining law firm Eversheds Sutherland on a training contract in 2017, according to The Mail Online, which first reported the news.

Eversheds said it immediately suspended Hagyard after he was arrested, and he did not return to his role before he officially left the company in June 2018.

Hagyard, 29, allegedly raped a law student in her 20s who has passed out on her bed before touching another woman who was asleep on a sofa, at a house party, where other Eversheds colleagues were in attendance, in West London.

The woman reportedly told the court: “I took myself to bed and I woke up and there was a boy sort of on top of me” at the party where she and other attendees were intoxicated. Hagyard however claimed that he was invited to sleep in the woman’s bed by the party host, and that consensual sexual activity took place.

In defence of the second incident of sexual assault, Hagyard again claimed he was invited to the sofa by the woman who, he told the court, appeared to enjoy herself.

In text messages, the woman however told friends she had been “sexually assaulted” and contacted the party host who challenged Hagyard directly.

He reportedly responded by saying: “It was a drunken, stupid mistake and I can’t say sorry enough. I misunderstood what people were thinking.”

Hagyard has denied five counts of rape and sexual assault.

A spokesperson from his former employer, Eversheds, told Legal Cheek: “Eversheds Sutherland (International) can confirm that Tom Hagyard joined the firm in September 2017 as a trainee solicitor. He was suspended immediately following his arrest, and did not resume his position before leaving the firm in June 2018.”