A drunk construction worker sexually assaulted a woman after she asked for a cigarette

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A drunk construction worker sexually assaulted a woman after she asked him for a cigarette, a court has heard.

Gordon Brown, 58, assaulted the woman in Darlington in November 2020. Teesside Crown Court heard the defendant asked her to perform a sex act on him in exchange for a cigarette.

The defendant declined before Brown grabbed her left breast over her clothing before making a salacious comment.

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Charges against Shaun Dryden said: “She was concerned about this behavior and told the defendant there was CCTV and he replied, ‘I’m not giving up’. She describes herself as upset and shocked and immediately reported the incident.

“When questioned, the defendant said he had no recollection of the incident because he was a heavy drinker and drank a liter of vodka. He said if she said he did it, then he probably did.”

In an impact statement, the victim said she had “sensitive mental health” and attempted suicide after the incident. The court heard Brown was convicted of sexual assault after he failed to show up for his own trial.

In mitigation, a police interview claimed he accepted what the victim said was most likely true. It has also been claimed he has a longstanding problem with alcohol and lost his job as a construction worker during the pandemic.

Correctional Officer Simon Eckersley said: “You have committed gross sexual abuse. You made a disgusting sexual proposal that shocked her before you grabbed her – which is totally unacceptable.”

Dryden, of Malvern Crescent, Darlington, was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment with a two-year suspended sentence. He is also required to participate in a nine-month alcohol treatment program and complete rehabilitation days.

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