A MAN who grabbed the breast of a cancer victim undergoing reconstructive surgery has been jailed.

Adam Taylor-Urch, 26, was drunk and had been smoking cannabis when he groped his friend’s mother.

Durham Crown Court heard the assault took place as left his friend’s house, where she was staying, on October 7, last year.

Jane Waugh, prosecuting, said: “He reached out and grabbed her breast through her clothing. She said she was going to ring the police.

“He put his foot in the doorway, but she managed to push him out.

“She was particularly upset about the touching because she was undergoing reconstructive surgery on her breast.”

Taylor-Urch, from Victoria Terrace, Seaham, was arrested by police and replied ‘no comment’ to officers during interview.

He denied the offence and initially entered a not guilty plea to a charge of sexual assault, but he was convicted in his absence on December 4.

Mitigating, Vic Laffey said: “He has known this lady since he was a child. He is extremely embarrassed at what he has done. He cannot explain his behaviour

“It was an impulsive act while under the influence. He had no idea she was undergoing surgery. He is ashamed and embarrassed.”

The court was told the victim had suffered from breast cancer had received treatment, including a mastectomy.

The assault came between sessions of reconstructive surgery.

Mr Laffey said: “I accept without hesitation it would have caused her more distress, but whether it would make her more vulnerable is a moot point.

“He regrets the situation altogether.”

The court heard Taylor-Urch was previously convicted of a sexual offence when he was 17 for engaging in non-penetrative sex with a 14 year old girl. He also has convictions for violence, dishonesty and driving offences.

Recorder Simon Jackson sentenced him to 11 months imprisonment and said he must also sign the sex offenders’ register for ten years.

The judge also made a five-year restraining order preventing him from contacting the victim.

He said: “You stupidly, and completely inappropriately, sexually assaulted this woman who you have known for a number of years. All sexual assaults are serious and are treated as such by the courts.

“It occurred at a time when she was particularly sensitive to such an assault.”