A hedge fund manager indecently assaulted a junior worker at his £7.75 million home after a business meeting, a court heard today.
Crispin Odey, 62, is alleged to have groped the woman’s breasts and put his hand up her skirt hoping they would have sex after they ended up at his home in Chelsea, west London.
The woman, who was in her 20s at the time – 13 years Odey’s junior – was so “shocked and scared” that she “wrestled herself free and left,” Hendon Magistrates’ Court heard.
Odey, founder of Odey Asset Management which handles billions of pounds in investments, and the woman had just left a meeting but ended up at his house when they tried to go to a pub but found it full, magistrates were told.
The court heard how she thought a meeting with him could help her career and that any young member of staff would jump at the chance.
The incident is claimed to have happened in 1998 and when police interviewed Odey in 2017 he admitted that he had been attracted to her.
He claimed that he told her when she asked him where the evening would end: “This is going to end up in bed, hopefully.”
The court heard how Odey in an earlier email in 2013 accepted propositioning her, but denied indecent assault.
He claimed his accuser was “obviously unhappy and had formed some sort of grudge against him.”
Kerry Broome, prosecuting, today told the court that, in July 1998, Odey and the woman originally meant to go to a pub for a drink following a one-to-one meeting in his office.
But when they found the pub to be full, he suggested going back to his house for a “takeaway.”
The court heard that, after taking a taxi back to his home, Odey went out of the room to shower and re-emerged wearing a robe before lunging at her.
Ms Broome said: “That evening, after work, she returned to Mr Odey’s office and met him there.”
She explained how they decided to go for a drink after the meeting.
Ms Boone continued: “When they got there the pub was full, and people were spilling out on the street.
“He returned wearing a robe, having obviously showered, and it was by this time that she was somewhat concerned.
“She remembered she was sitting in a booth-type seat.
“Mr Odey sat next to her and at that point lunged at her, put his hand on his breasts, down her shirt, with his other hand on her back then put his hand up her skirt.
“She was shocked and scared. She wrestled herself free and left.”
Ms Broome said that a taxi arrived, and the driver asked the woman if she was Odey’s wife, Nichola Pease.
The alleged victim then got in and went to her boyfriend’s home, the court heard.
The woman reported Odey to her bosses a year later in 1999.
In a video interview with police, which was played to the court on Wednesday, the complainant said: “He had a shower. That’s when I thought ‘Oh shit’. I didn’t really think he would do anything.
“I thought ‘This is definitely weird but he’s a weird guy, an eccentric person.’ I was definitely on alert. He sat down… and that’s when he was on top, all over me.”
The woman, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, said Odey, who she described as “bookish” and a “professor-type”, went from “zero to 100”.
“He just kind of launched at me. He didn’t say anything,” she said.
“It was just a full groping, all over me, putting his hands on… under my shirt and on my back.”
She added: “He definitely had his hands down my shirt and pressure on my back – one hand on my back, it was just an awkward position… on my leg and trying to put his hand up my dress.”
Ms Broome said the woman, who now lives in the US, was left “shocked and scared” following the alleged indecent assault, adding: “She wrestled herself free and left.”
The woman said she went to a friend’s house and told him what had happened before informing senior colleagues at the bank the following day.
“They said ‘You will be fired… nothing will come of this. You will lose your job’,” she said.
The court heard that she sent an email to Odey in 2013 before telling police four years later, in October 2017.
“He just saw me as a thing, not a person, just a pretty thing that he wanted, so he orchestrated this ridiculous narrative to get me where he wanted and then it was really up to him what he wanted, and (I’m) just so grateful it wasn’t worse,” she told an officer the following year.
“It’s the whole objectification. You have got all of this money, this power, so you can do what you want.
“It’s not like you’re a person, just a doll or something, it’s just so bizarre.
“There’s no awareness of where you were at. It’s all about where he’s at.
“It’s just he wants something so he’s going to make that happen and I’m not going to be able to do anything about it and he knows that.”
Odey is worth about £800 million according to the Sunday Times Rich List.
He denies one charge of indecent assault.
The trial continues.