Police delay gig to grill comic over sex attack

A bad time for mistaken identity

Police held up the start of a comedy night this weekend – to question the opening act about a sexual assault.

The audience at Big Al’s Sports Bar in Carlisle were surprised to see two officers make their way through the audience as Saturday’s show was about to start, and even more surprise to see them lead opening act Freddy Quinne outside.

There they quizzed him about an assault in the Stanwix district of the town a week earlier, in which a woman was grabbed on her way home in the early hours of the morning, dragged up a lane and assaulted.

Police issued an e-fit artist’s impression of the suspect just hours before the gig, and it appeared in that day’s local newspapers – prompting concerned residents to call detectives when they saw Quinne in town.

The 22-year-old comic, admitted that he bore a strong resemblance to the image, writing in Chortle’s Correspondents’ section today: ‘He had the same hair as me, the same beard, the same cheeks and the same nose. He was the same height, the same build.

‘He looked enough like me for not one but several people to contact the police, and that was just while I was driving.’

After grilling Quinne for several minutes, the officers were convinced he was not the man they were looking for – but nevertheless advised him to leave town in case anyone else mistook him for the attacker.

Which he did – but not before doing his set, with several references to the incident that had just occurred. ‘If nothing else, at least I’m getting recognised at gigs,’ he joked.

By an unfortunate quirk of fate, Quinne had tweeted a joke just 24 hours before the gig: ‘Been trying new things in the bedroom. Like consent.’

Published: 26 Sep 2011

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