Former world darts champion Ted Hankey has been jailed after he was caught on camera sexually assaulting a young woman.
The 54-year-old, who had shown “more self-pity than remorse”, dabbed away tears with a tissue as he was sentenced at Chester Crown Court.
The court heard the victim of the sexual assault now suffers from panic attacks and has developed PTSD.
Who is Ted Hankey?
Ted Hankey, from Stoke-on-Trent, was a professional darts player, who dressed as a vampire and went by the nickname The Count during his playing days. His walk-on music was the 2002 song Be on Your Way.
Hankey first qualified for the British Darts Organisation (BDO) world championship in 1998.
He won the prestigious event in 2000 and 2009 and also finished as runner up twice at the Lakeside tournament.
He was known for some controversial antics throughout his career.
During the 2008 BDO championship he was reprimanded for his conduct after he punched the darts board when he became irritated with the crowd.
In another match he was annoyed the air conditioning was on and insisted it be switched off as his darts were lighter than his competitor’s and thought they would be affected. When this was denied, he threw his darts at the board without much effort or thought. His behaviour was branded “ridiculous” by a commentator at the time.
In 2012, Hankey suffered a mini-stroke and missed the 2013 PDC World Darts Championship.
Last December it was announced that Hankey was withdrawing from the world seniors darts championship, which were held in February.
What was he charged with?
Hankey, a father of three, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to a single count of sexual assault.
The two-time darts world champion had “flatly denied” any wrongdoing and “expressed amazement” at the allegation when he was first arrested.
But he stopped talking and refused to answer any more questions when detectives told him the attack had been caught on camera, the court heard.
Judge Steven Everett, Recorder of Chester, said Hankey had shown an “arrogant entitlement” when he attacked his victim in Cheshire, on 10 September last year.
Footage of the attack was played to the judge after the court had been cleared of the press and members of the public.
The young woman, still traumatised by the attack, cannot be named for legal reasons.
Prosecutor Simon Parry said when arrested Hankey had “flatly denied any wrongdoing”, and had said: ‘Why would I do that?’
The prosecutor said when police told him the incident had been caught on camera, Hankey “made no further comment to all questions”.
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.”
How long has he been jailed for?
Hankey, whose wife is now divorcing him, was jailed for two years and ordered to sign the sex offenders register for 10 years.
Passing sentence, Judge Everett told him: “You genuinely believed nobody would believe her, until you were shown the damning evidence.
“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.”
Mark Connor, defending, asked for a suspended jail sentence, saying the offence was “opportunist”, that Hankey had admitted it and wanted to apologise for his behaviour.
Judge Everett replied: “He would have denied it to the bitter end had it not been filmed.”
District Crown Prosecutor Brian Forshaw, a specialist lawyer with Crown Prosecution Service (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 CPS would like to thank the victim for her help and courage in bringing this prosecution, and we have worked to support her.
“Mr Hankey is now a convicted sex offender and this case may have prevented further offending.”