October 2017

Factory worker groped female after sending her explicit texts

A factory cleaner who groped a female twice after sending her unwanted sexually explicit texts has been spared jail.

David Ritchie grabbed his victim and gave her love bites while pulling at her clothing during the first shocking attack.

Just days later, the 38-year-old took hold of his victim again and simulated sex with her.

Newcastle Crown Court heard Ritchie, who has 142 previous convictions but none for any sexual offences, had sent the woman a series a texts before the two attacks, which contained graphic content.

Prosecutor Adam Birkby told the court: “She did nothing to encourage him. She told him she did not like what he was saying.” The ordeal left the victim frightened and embarrassed.

Ritchie, of Mill Terrace, Shiney Row, told police his behaviour had been just “sexual banter” and claimed that the woman had made up the sex assault claims because she was jealous about his relationship with another woman. He later pleaded guilty to two charges of sexual assault.

Judge Robert Spragg sentenced Ritchie to five months imprisonment, suspended for two years, with sex offender group work programme and rehabilitation requirements.

Ritchie must sign the sex offenders register for seven years and abide by a lifelong restraining order to keep him away from the victim.

Judge Spragg told Ritchie: “You started to make inappropriate sexual comments to her. She did not do anything to encourage you, indeed she told you she did not like what you were saying. “You sent her texts in explicit terms and she didn’t reply. “You persisted, despite her making it clear she was not at all interested in your advances.

The judge said the victim was left untrusting of men generally and scared of bumping into Ritchie again.

Judge Spragg told Ritchie what he did was “appalling” but added: “The protection of the public in the long term is better achieved by taking steps to deal with your behaviour so there are no other victims.”