Adrian Scantlebury, aged 37, sexually assaulted stranger as she crossed busy city centre street in broad daylight
A creep has avoided jail for thrusting his groin at an elderly disabled woman in a birthday prank as she crossed a busy city centre street.
Adrian Scantlebury, aged 37, humiliated the stranger in broad daylight in front of his friends and passers-by, including children, a court heard.
He denied any sexual motive in pushing his groin into her pelvic area, telling the startled woman: “It was not hard.”
CCTV captured the moment he attacked the woman as she crossed Mayflower Street using a walking aid with her daughter.
A High Court judge told Plymouth Crown Court the offence was “cowardly and contemptuous”.
The Honourable Mrs Justice May added: “Shame on you in treating such an elderly person in that way. She was shocked and distressed and did nothing to deserve such treatment.”
She said of him: “He is 37 but he acted more like a 17 or 18-year-old.”
But the judge said that Scantlebury had pleaded guilty and apologised and there was hope that he could be rehabilitated – despite almost 30 previous offences.
Scantlebury, of Reynolds Grove, Barne Barton, was handed an eight-month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months.
He must do 25 days supervision under probation’s Rehabilitation Activity Requirement and also the service’s thinking skills course.
Scantlebury had earlier admitted sexual assault on October 18 last year.
Deni Mathews, for the Crown Prosecution Service, said the woman and her daughter were using a pedestrian crossing in Mayflower Street at 3.45pm.
He added that Scantlebury, with a group of friends, came up behind her and “thrust his groin area towards hers”.
Mr Mathews said when challenged the defendant replied: “It was not hard.”
The barrister added: “She got to the other side of the road and became distressed. She speaks of its impact and the loss of confidence and her reluctance to return to that part of the city centre.”
Mr Mathews said Scantlebury said in police interview that he had been under the influence of alcohol at the time because of his birthday celebrations.
Scantlebury has 27 offences on his record, including assaults, but nothing of a sexual nature.
The defendant was jailed for two years for malicious wounding, when he battered a man with a rolling pin as part of a vicious gang attack in 2008.
Geoff Parlby, for Scantlebury, said that his client had found it hard to come to terms with what he had done.
But he added that the defendant, who is on benefits, felt huge shame and remorse.
Mr Parlby said: “This is a huge reality check. He has repeatedly stated that would like to apologise to the victim and he has said that it will not happen again.
“There was no sexual motivation in the offence.”