A 54-year-old man from Wakefield has today been found guilty of raping a woman and sexually assaulting two others while working in Stevenage.

Nigel Holmes, of Silkstone Crest, Normanton, met the victims in a pub in Stevenage and attached himself to them, St Albans Crown Court heard.

Prosecutor Isabel Delamere said: “He ingratiated himself in their company and persuaded them to come and work with him.

“His behaviour was friendly, but became more sexualised - verbally at first.”

On the last Friday before the first COVID lockdown, Holmes bought shots from them in the pub and made inappropriate comments.

Then during the lockdown he kept in touch and offered them work.

At the office there was banter, then sexualised touching, culminating in oral rape of one of the women after a trip to a nightclub in Hitchin.

Holmes denied two charges of sexual assault against one woman, two charges of sexual assault against the second woman and assault by penetration and oral rape of the third. He was convicted of all charges.

He denied making it “uncomfortable” for the women while they worked in the office with him, but he said the environment was “over friendly".

In the witness box he said: “I might swear a lot, but I don’t make sexual comments.”

He also denied sexually touching two women and denied previously groping the third at the Hitchin nightclub. He said he had not orally raped her, but had gone to sleep on a sofa at an address in the town.

After the guilty verdict, the jury was told that in 2016 Holmes was convicted of a sexual assault on a 14-year-old girl.

Judge Michael Kay QC remanded Holmes in custody for a report to be prepared. The judge said: “He faces a considerable custodial sentence.”