A Huddersfield man sexually assaulted two women after he met them through a bereavement support organisation.
Andrew McLeod told one of his victims: “Everyone needs a cuddle” after molesting her.
Leeds Crown Court heard McLeod, of Fixby, and the women were members of WAY standing for Widowed and Young, who provide support and social opportunities for those suffering a loss.
Various events were organised around the country one of which was a dinner dance at a hotel in Reading in May last year.
Craig Hassall prosecuting said both McLeod and the first complainant had travelled separately to the hotel and met among a group at the bar at the start of the evening.
They sat at different tables during dinner but he then approached her afterwards and during their conversation began rubbing his hand up and down her back.
She felt uncomfortable and tried to move away but he responded by taking hold of her hair and moving her head towards him.
Mr Hassall said the woman felt scared and made clear she was not interested in taking things further even telling him she was not going to sleep with him but he ignored her rebuff. He continued to rub her back and said: “I don’t know why I am attracted to you but I really am.”
The woman decided to go on the dance floor to get away from him but when she next sat down he again went next to her and put his hand on her right thigh and started to push her dress up. She pushed his hand away and McLeod then said: “Too slow doing that, come on let’s see those legs” putting his hand on her inner thigh.
Mr Hassall told the court the woman decided then to go to her room to get away from his advances. At that time she did not report it but came forward after the second incident was reported to the police.
That occurred after a social event in the Leeds area in August when some WAY members had a Chinese meal at a woman’s home. Because drink had been taken it was agreed for two men to stay the night, one of them was McLeod.
The woman went to bed about 2am, McLeod was on the sofa and the other man in her spare room, but she was woken sometime later to find McLeod kneeling by the bed reaching under her duvet touching her breast. She told him to stop but he said she should move over so he could get in saying: “Everyone needs a cuddle and love.”
Mr Hassall said she asked him to leave but McLeod tried to kiss her arm. When she told him she was not ready for another relationship he replied: “It’s not a relationship it’s companionship, everybody needs companionship.”
He eventually lay on the floor and when she thought he had fallen asleep she got up and locked herself in the bathroom.
It was after police were informed about the assault that the earlier offence came to light. Both women said they had been upset by what had happened when they were already grieving the loss of a partner.
Richard Reed for McLeod said he too had unresolved bereavement issues. He had never been in trouble before and in both cases drink had been taken leading to actions for which he felt genuine remorse.
McLeod, 52 of Bradley Road, Fixby, Huddersfield admitted both sexual assaults and was given a three year community order with supervision and a high level activity requirement which includes the sex offender treatment programme.
Judge James Spencer QC said the offences were “quite alarming” for both women but it was clear work could be done with him on his bereavement issues and also to educate him on his social responsibilities.
McLeod was order to register as a sex offender for five years.
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