Pensioner court sentence for groping girl

A pensioner who groped a teenage girl has been given a suspended prison sentence.

Ian McGregor, 69, touched the under-age girl at a flat in Whitby.

Police were informed and McGregor was charged with sexual assault. He denied the offence and appeared for trial at York Crown Court on Monday, but pleaded guilty before a jury was sworn in.

The incident happened on July 22 last year, when McGregor, of North Promenade, found himself alone with the girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons.

Prosecuting barrister Shaun Dodds said McGregor locked the door and told the girl to give him a hug and groped her as the girl “froze”.

The victim’s friend later confronted McGregor about the incident and the two of them got into a scuffle, during which she fell over and the pensioner suffered scratches to his arm.

McGregor called police to say he had been accused of sexually assaulting a girl and police arrived to arrest him. He told officers that any touching had been accidental.

The defendant already had one previous sexual offence dating back to 1983, when he was convicted of having sex with an under-age girl.

Barrister Louise Reevell, for McGregor, said the only mitigation she could offer was that the defendant had pleaded guilty.

Judge Guy Kearl QC told McGregor he had taken advantage of a vulnerable girl for his own sexual gratification.

He gave him a nine-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, and ordered McGregor to sign on the sex offenders’ register for the next 10 years.

The judge also made a seven-year sexual-harm prevention order which prevents McGregor from contacting the victim, having unsupervised contact with children under 16 years of age and from being in the same household as an under-age child without the permission of Social Services or a parent.