A 75-year-old man who sexually assaulted a woman in a Hatfield pub has been spared jail.

Paul Fuller, now 77, of Stockbreach Close, was given a six-month sentence, suspended for 12 months, after appearing at St Albans Crown Court last Friday.

The court heard that in July 2021, Fuller had been drinking in The Harrier pub when he approached the victim, asked her for a kiss and then rubbed the top of her leg near her crotch.

He then tried to buy her a drink, but the landlord refused to serve him and, when he failed to persuade the woman to accompany him to another pub, he left the scene.

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Leon-Nathan Lynch, defending, said the offence was "entirely out of character", and occurred the day after the death of Fuller's best friend.

He also said the defendant had felt lonely and isolated during the COVID-19 lockdowns, and a combination of this and alcohol caused him to commit the offence.

Recorder Ian Stern KC said: "Obviously sexual assault is a serious criminal offence, and fortunately it was witnessed by the manager and a customer."

Fuller's remorse and guilty plea influenced his sentence.