A MAN who sexually assaulted a woman has been spared jail.

Bolton Crown Court heard Paul Grantham waited until his his wife was out before he abused the woman.

Andrew Mackintosh, prosecuting, told how Grantham and his victim were watching a film on Netflix when he began to suck her ear and touch her intimately.

“She tried to pull away. She told him repeatedly to stop what he was doing, but he didn’t,” said Mr Mackintosh.

He then put his hands inside her clothing, the court heard.

“Eventually he was disturbed and stopped what he was doing. His wife came home and there was no further contact between him and the complainant,” said Mr Macintosh.

The woman reported the incident to police and 54-year-old Grantham was arrested.

He admitted sexually touching the woman, but claimed it had been consensual and initially denied two sexual assault charges.

But after a date was fixed for his trial Grantham, of Rayden Crescent, Westhoughton, changed his plea to guilty.

In a victim impact statement the woman told the court she now has trouble sleeping.

She added: “It doesn’t matter how many stories you read or movies you see about assaults and abuse, nothing will prepare you for the emotional rollercoaster, mental damage and the physical damage it causes.

“It doesn’t and will not prepare you for the torture you have to live with — the shame and the guilt are a continuing fact.”

She said Grantham had manipulated and damaged her, adding: "It has completely destroyed me."

Nicola Gatto, defending, told Judge Graeme Smith that Grantham, of previous good character, had been married for 25 years but, at the time of the offence, the relationship was “in the doldrums”.

She stressed the sexual assaults had been “fleeting” and were not accompanied by any threats of violence, with Grantham describing the offending as “a gross error of judgement”.

“He tells me that it is something that he bitterly regrets to this day,” said Miss Gatto.

“He doesn’t quite know what drove him to do this.”

The court heard he is now trying to repair the damage he did to his marriage.

“This man now has a stain on his character — something which he will have for the rest of his life,” said Miss Gatto.

Judge Smith gave him a 19-month suspended prison term, with 100 hours unpaid work plus 30 rehab activity days. He was also given a restraining order.

“For whatever reason, you went way beyond what was acceptable,” the judge told Grantham.

“You are being sentenced for two offences of sexual assault. Fortunately they did not lead to anything more serious.”