Sunderland man jailed for groping drunken woman

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A MAN who sexually assaulted a woman during a drinking session at his home has been jailed.

Malcolm Wetherell took advantage of the woman’s drunken state when she went to his Wearside house in November last year.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the victim, who cannot be named, had drunk two bottles of wine before she got there and had more alcohol after she arrived.

Prosecutor Robert Adams told the court: “She described herself as being fully clothed.

“She said the next thing she became aware of was being in the defendant’s bed.” Wetherell, of Maudlin Street, Hetton, pleaded guilty to sexual assault on the grounds he groped the woman over the top of her clothing.

The 51-year-old’s basis of plea, which was read out in court, stated: “He accepts it was a shocking incident and indeed he himself has been devastated by his own conduct.

“While drink is no excuse or defence, the defendant wishes to make it clear drink played its part in the events.”

Judge Christopher Prince jailed Wetherell for 13 months.

The judge told him: “You took advantage of a vulnerable woman who was in your home and who was very intoxicated.

“Her recollection is waking up in bed next to you, having been subjected to a sexual assault by you.

“She shouted at you and you stopped what you were doing.”

Wetherell must sign the sex offenders’ register for 10 years.

Caroline Goodwin, defending, said: “There is very little risk here of this defendant re-offending in the way he has.

“The probation service feel this is a defendant worthy of working with.”

Twitter: @sunderladnecho