Former Leeds Beckett Students’ Union president convicted of assaulting woman

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The former president of a students’ union in Leeds has admitted twice assaulting a woman during his year in office.

Joe Murray, who was elected union president at Leeds Beckett University for 2016/17, had been charged with two counts of assault by beating and a third of coercive behaviour.

As soon as the union was informed by the police of the allegations, the former president was suspended.

Leeds Beckett Students’ Union

He was due to stand trial at Leeds Magistrates’ Court on September 1, but changed his plea on the assault charges.

The prosecution decided not to offer evidence on the third count, which was dismissed.

There had been speculation among students about the absence of 21-year-old Murray, who was suspended on full pay when the criminal investigation began. But his year in office had ended by the time of the hearing, meaning he never returned to the role and no further action was taken by the union.

After the change of plea earlier this month, magistrates issued a 16-week prison sentence suspended for two years.

Murray, of Heather Lea Avenue, Sheffield, must also complete a 33-day Building Better Relationships programme and 100 hours of unpaid work.

He was issued with a five year restraining order and told to pay a £115 victim surcharge and £400 in court costs.

In a statement, the union said: “Both the students’ union and university have measures in place to deal with any such situations and ensure that those involved are dealt with appropriately and that our student community is safeguarded.

“As is standard practice, as soon as the union was informed by the police of the allegations, the former president was suspended. This action was supported by the university.

“He remained suspended till the end of his term as president on June 30, as the outcome of the case was still not known at this time.”

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