For many years, it has been abundantly clear to Emily Hunt how some people working in the criminal justice system viewed her.
‘I was just another woman who had got drunk and found herself in bed with a man and who then woke up afterwards regretting it,’ she says.
And it is certainly true that, when the then 36-year-old strategy consultant had groggily woken up naked in a five-star London hotel bedroom next to a stranger, she had no memory at all of how she had got there.
For many years, it has been abundantly clear to Emily Hunt (pictured) how some people working in the criminal justice system viewed her
The then 36-year-old strategy consultant groggily woke up naked in a five-star London hotel bedroom (stock photo of a hotel room pictured) next to a stranger, she had no memory at all of how she had got there
Her last recollection had been of enjoying a convivial lunch with her father five hours earlier.
But then she had found herself, her head thumping, lying next to a man she didn’t know who was fully clothed and casually flicking through the television channels with a remote control as he leaned against the headboard next to her. Chillingly, she could hear him laughing.
Yet while she couldn’t remember anything about the previous few hours, Emily instinctively knew one thing: something had happened to her that she had not consented to.
It has taken her five exhausting years to prove this in court – a brave battle for justice that saw every area of her life (her career, relationships and mental health) crumble.
She was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and at one point tried to take her own life. But so determined was she to get justice and hold that man to account that she began a crowdfunding campaign, raising £27,000 in an ultimately futile attempt to bring a private prosecution after the Crown Prosecution Service did not take up the case.
And despite the fact that exactly how she ended up in that hotel room is still shrouded in mystery, last week her battle finally ended in a landmark victory, when, on Friday, the man she found herself in bed with – who can now be named for the first time as Christopher Killick, 40 – pleaded guilty to voyeurism at Thames magistrates court.
The man she found herself in bed with – who can now be named for the first time as Christopher Killick (pictured), 40 – pleaded guilty to voyeurism at Thames magistrates court
Killick, from Brent, North-West London, admitted filming an unconscious Emily lying naked in the hotel bed, making a 62-second video for the purposes of sexual gratification without her consent. He will be sentenced in September.
It is complete vindication for Ms Hunt, who has courageously waived her right to anonymity in order to highlight how she believes women victims of sexual assault are not treated seriously enough by the criminal justice system.
Only recently has the law on voyeurism been made tougher. Meanwhile, there is still widespread concern about the low rate of rape prosecutions.
‘This is an important victory,’ she told The Mail on Sunday in an exclusive interview. ‘We’ve shown that the CPS needs to prosecute cases like this and it is possible. It’s an amazing moment. This is much bigger than being just about me. We’ve proved that everyone ought to be protected from this kind of invasion of privacy.’
However, it has been a very arduous and painful process, with Emily’s case triggering a heated debate about the ‘mistreatment’ of women victims of sex attacks. Originally from New York, Emily had a senior position as a management consultant, having moved to London 12 years ago. On that fateful day in May 2015, she had left her then five-year-old daughter with her ex-husband while she met her father who was visiting from Ireland.
They had lunch at a favourite restaurant in Bethnal Green, East London, near her home.
After a difficult couple of years, she recalls feeling hopeful and happy. ‘I had just finalised my divorce. I was interviewing for a big job and I had a date the next night with a lawyer. At the time, I wanted to find the right partner, get a big job and maybe have some more kids. That was how I saw the next five to ten years of my life to be.’
Yet what unfolded over the next few hours – a gap that she’s still unable to fully account for – shattered her confidence and devastated her life. Around 10pm, five hours after she had parted company with her father, Emily found herself in bed waking up next to Killick in a £300-a-night hotel with no idea how she had got there.
‘I was naked, curled up and cold. I was still out of it,’ she recalls.
‘It’s like I’d been picked up and dropped next to this guy on the bed. I had never seen him before in my life. I was very cold and felt weird, kind of fuzzy, but I definitely wasn’t suffering a hangover.’
Although she had enjoyed a few drinks with her father – including wine and the Italian liqueur grappa – it was not enough to get her intoxicated. Convinced she must have been drugged and raped, a terrified and confused Emily stumbled to the hotel bathroom and texted a friend, who called the police.
‘I began to get more and more freaked out – so I gathered up my clothes and quickly got dressed,’ she said. ‘As I was coming out, the man tried to convince me not to leave. But it was really scary because this was someone I didn’t know.’
She asked his name and phone number so as not to alert his suspicion and fled downstairs.
‘There, I fell into the arms of a police officer and started having a hyperventilating panic attack.
‘In the end, the police called an ambulance because they thought I was having a heart attack. It was terrifying.’
Killick, who was stone-cold sober, was duly arrested. For her part, Emily, who ever since has relentlessly pursued the Metropolitan Police for information, later learned that his rucksack contained condoms, Viagra and what was thought to be the hallucinogenic drug LSD. Police also found used condoms in the room. Killick is understood to have told police that he met her in a bar and they went to the hotel and had consensual sex. Yet, astonishingly, despite taking urine samples, the police refused to carry out an internal examination on her until five days later as they said she was ‘too intoxicated’ to consent to it. And when the toxicology results did come back, they showed Emily had ‘definitively’ not been drugged with the date-rape drug GHB – although two years on, re-run results came back as ‘inconclusive’.
Later, Emily found out that CCTV footage showed her leaving a bar with Killick less than a mile from the restaurant and the hotel.
‘It shows me swaying with my arms all over him,’ she says. ‘At various points I’m not able to hold myself up. I’m falling over onto a bench.’
A test later showed that the amount of alcohol in her system was only twice that of the drink-drive limit – under the level at which someone is said to be unable to consent to sex.
In a strange parallel, her father had blurred memories of that day, too – with a hazy recollection of getting to the airport or taking his flight back to Ireland.
None of this seemed to be taken into account, and the CPS did not charge Killick with any offence on the basis that there wasn’t enough evidence.
It was at this point that Emily’s mental health hit an all-time low.
‘I went back to the hotel where it all happened and I tried to kill myself,’ she says. ‘I felt discounted. I felt like the CPS did not care about me.’
Fortunately, she had messaged a friend about taking her own life and the police tracked her phone back to the hotel. ‘They traced me there and saved my life,’ Emily says.
It was then that she was diagnosed with PTSD.
‘It helped everything make a lot more sense,’ she says. ‘I had previously thought I was losing my mind.’ Yet worse was to come.
A year after the hotel bedroom incident, police informed Emily that the man had filmed her while she was naked and unconscious.
‘They told me he’d admitted to taking a video,’ she says. ‘He told the police that he had planned to use it to satisfy himself later on and that he knew he didn’t have my permission. This was a whole new layer of violation. I’m incredibly private and have never allowed anyone to take and have a video of me naked.’
Determined that Killick answer for what he did, Emily (pictured) then filed a separate police report in the hope he would be arrested for voyeurism – defined by law as observing or recording an individual doing a private act for sexual gratification without gaining their consent
Although she has never watched the video, a friend who saw it on her behalf described the footage as ‘really creepy’.
Determined that Killick answer for what he did, Emily then filed a separate police report in the hope he would be arrested for voyeurism – defined by law as observing or recording an individual doing a private act for sexual gratification without gaining their consent.
Again, the CPS did not charge Killick – a decision upheld after Emily appealed.
Although voyeurism is a crime under the 2003 Sexual Offences Act, the CPS stated that filming someone naked in a private room did not constitute an offence if they had consented to being looked at naked. Emily was astounded.
‘I couldn’t understand how could somebody not see this as a serious crime,’ she says.
Undeterred, and backed by the Centre for Women’s Justice – the same legal team that helped the victims of the serial ‘black cab rapist’ John Worboys – Emily fought for a judicial review of the case.
Her arguments were heard alongside a similar case and led to a landmark ruling that non-consensual intimate filming was illegal. As a result, prosecutors reviewed Emily’s case and arrested Killick in May.
Finally, on Friday, Killick, who is out of work, lives with his mother and who cut a shambling figure in court, pleaded guilty at Thames magistrates’ court to taking the clandestine video. He now faces a sentence of 26 weeks in prison.
His lawyer told the court he had no previous convictions and had been unaware that making the video was illegal.
Killick was also given a restraining order preventing him from using social media to comment on the case, after the court heard he had set up a Twitter account to message Emily two weeks ago.
For Emily, who went to the court hearing but sat in a side room so as not to have to see Killick, it is a closure of sorts.
‘Now I feel as though I can get a job and a boyfriend and restart my life again,’ she says.
Yet questions still remain over why it has taken her five years to get justice and also what has happened to the video footage.
‘I’m not 100 per cent certain whether the video still exists or has been downloaded anywhere. That is just terrifying,’ says Emily.
‘He had some weird software on his phone that could have been used for messaging. It’s something that plays on my mind a lot.’
Emily’s ordeal comes amid growing scrutiny on the CPS, which has been accused of not bringing enough rape cases to court and criticised for unsympathetic treatment of sexual assault victims.
Last year, the introduction of a new Voyeurism Offences Act was designed to deal with the increase of digital sex abuse, including ‘upskirting’, whereby someone photographs from below a woman’s skirt without her knowledge.
These issues are one reason why Emily is writing a book about what she has been through – a process she describes as ‘cathartic’.
She wants to highlight what she sees as society’s failure to confront sexual violence. ‘It’s vitally important for people to know that what happened to me could happen to any woman,’ she says.
Meanwhile, she has tried to shield her daughter from her ordeal but realises that one day she will need to explain what happened.
‘She is aged ten and we’re starting to get to a point where those little ears are starting to hear things and put things together,’ she says.
‘But she already knows that her mummy is trying to put more criminals in jail and she’s really proud of me.’