Wife of English Teacher Flips Testimony About Sexual Assault

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Matthew William Watkin walks toward a car after a Supreme Court hearing on his sexual assault conviction on April 20, 2022. (Keat Soriththeavy/VOD)

A British man’s Cambodian wife said in court on Wednesday that her previous testimony accusing him of molesting their 13-year-old niece had been given out of jealousy and she now wanted justice for him.

Matthew William Watkin, an English teacher living in Siem Reap province, was convicted of sexual assault in 2020, and was sentenced to two years and six months in prison. He was also fined about $1,000 and ordered to pay compensation of $2,500.

During the initial trial, his wife Prin Sophea said she had seen him molesting their 13-year-old niece when she came home from work at 11 p.m. on March 18, 2020.

However, during a Supreme Court appeal on Wednesday, Sophea testified that on the night of March 18, 2020, her niece and husband were both at home, but she hadn’t seen him sexually assaulting the niece.

She was drunk and felt jealous, she said, adding that she could even feel jealousy about Watkin and his sister.

“My husband did not do that. This is not true. I want justice for my husband,” Sophea said.

Watkin told the court on Wednesday that he had only hugged and kissed his relatives as is normal in a family, and denied any sexual assault. He added that some of his previous answers about touching genitals had been mistranslated.

Defense lawyer So Mosseny argued that the 13-year-old victim had been unclear on which date the assault happened and had changed her story during questioning, and that the girl’s mother had asked for $5,000 to drop her complaint.

The 13-year-old’s mother was the one who filed a complaint to police, saying Watkin had abused both the 13-year-old and her 17-year-old sister, including touching the children’s chest and genitals.

Prosecutor Chhuon Chantha said the evidence and testimony was clear, and asked the judge to uphold the conviction. The verdict will be announced on May 4. 

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