South Shields care worker who sexually assaulted woman is spared jail

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A CARE worker who sexually assaulted a woman has walked free from court.

Stephen McDonnell admitted pinning his victim to a bed then trying to kiss her while stroking her leg.

He is ashamed of his behaviour and recognises the impact of his behaviour upon the victim.

Jane Foley, defending

The 44-year-old, of Galsworthy Road, South Shields, carried out the offence last year in South Tyneside.

Newcastle Crown Court heard how the victim has been left depressed and “crying every day” following the attack.

Gavin Doig, prosecuting, said: “The victim managed to push him off. She was described as being crying and frightened.

“It is clear this has had a significant impact on her life. She suffers from depression.”

McDonnell admitted sexual assault.

Jane Foley, defending, said: “He was at the time of the offence struggling to cope with the breakdown of his relationship with his long-term partner.

“She subsequently died of alcoholism and he was himself drinking heavily at that time.

“He wasn’t himself. He is ashamed of his behaviour and recognises the impact of his behaviour upon the victim.”

Judge Robert Adams told McDonnell: “You certainly should be ashamed of your activities.”

Judge Adams handed McDonnell a three-year community order with supervision and ordered him to attend a sex offenders programme for 54 days.

He also told McDonnell he would appear on the sex offences register for five years and made him the subject of an indefinite restraining order against the victim.