A JURY has convicted a man of trying to rape a woman after picking her up in his car outside a nightclub.

Christopher Johnson was warned to expect "a substantial" prison sentence for the incident last August.

The 45-year-old, of Clairville Road, Middlesbrough, was found guilty after a trial at Teesside Crown Court.

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He was also convicted of indecently assaulting the woman and stealing a mobile phone and £45 from her bag.

Johnson had claimed his accuser had invited him to a party and gave him the money to buy her cocaine.

His version was described by prosecutor Deborah Sherwin as “nonsense”, intended to blacken the woman's name.

He said the complainant spoke to him while he was in his car outside the Top Deck club in Redcar, east Cleveland.

During his evidence, Johnson said the woman asked him to go to a party in nearby Dormanstown.

The prosecution case was that Johnson threw the woman out of his car "in the middle of nowhere" after trying to rape her.

Judge Les Spittle said he would consider an indefinite sentence for public protection when the case returns to court.

It was adjourned until next month so Probation Service officials can examine Johnson's dangerousness.

He said: "The sentence is going to be a prison sentence. It is a matter of how long and the nature of it."

The court heard that the cash was found by police in a laundry basket at Johnson's house, while the mobile phone – minus its SIM card – had been dumped in a kitchen bin.

Ms Sherwin said: “You were looking to pick somebody up that night to have sex with and got lucky when she was silly enough to get into your car.”