Man spared jail over sex attack on teenage girl in Hebburn

The case was heard at Newcastle Crown Court.

The case was heard at Newcastle Crown Court.

A married dad has been spared jail over a sex attack on a teenage girl in a Hebburn shop.

Scott Langford had called into a store for cigarettes after a drunken works night out to celebrate 20 years service with his company.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the 39-year-old initially "leered" at the teen, before pressing against her.

He then "forcefully and unpleasantly" grabbed her bottom and squeezed.

Langford was arrested thanks to the bravery of another customer, who saw what was going on so confronted and detained him.

Langford, of Ralph Street, Hebburn, pleaded guilty to sexual assault.

Judge Tim Gittins told him: "It was a worrying display of such behaviour, it was demeaning to her and left her frightened.

"Clearly she was shocked, disgusted and intimidated by your behaviour.

"It has left her nervous.

"It was appalling behaviour, that I think you now recognise as such. "

Judge Gittins praised the customer's bravery for stepping in when he saw what was going on.

The judge said: "He didn't know what your reaction might be."

Langford was sentenced to three months imprisonment, suspended for two years, with programme requirements.

He must register as a sex offender for the next seven years.

The judge said Langford's previous positive character, years of hard work and lack of relevant previous convictions meant the prison sentence could be suspended.

Graeme Cook, defending, told the court: "He has really nearly lost it all by this incident."

Mr Cook said Langford is doing everything he can to keep his family together.

The court heard Langford had been drinking too much at the time of the attack due to worries over debt.