A MAN who carried out a sex attack in the gents’ toilet at a nightclub agreed he “completely misread” the situation in his drunken condition, a court heard.

Andrew John Fenny carried out the attack after pinning the victim into a cubicle during a karaoke night at Soda, in Chester-le-Street.

Durham Crown Court was told Fenny and partner Andrew Simpson were invited to join staff and other guests at a “lock-in” after other customers left the Front Street premises, on March 4, 2016.

Richard Bennett, prosecuting, said as the victim was using the urinal he was joined by Mr Simpson and Fenny, who told him: “That’s a handsome ****.”

He retreated to a cubicle, but was unable to lock the door and was followed by Fenny, who carried out the attack, before being pushed away.

Mr Bennett said when the victim informed staff and friends of Fenny, his complaints were, “dismissed out of hand” and he was asked to leave.

Outside the premises he rang his mother to say he had been attacked and police were informed.

The victim pointed out Fenny, who denied any sexual activity, but Mr Bennett said DNA from traces of the defendant’s saliva were found on the victim’s boxer shorts.

Fenny, 43, and 40-year-old Mr Simpson, both of Wesley Terrace, Chester-le-Street, denied sexual assault.

But on the day the case was to go to trial, last month, Fenny changed his plea to guilty.

On their return to court for the sentencing hearing, Mr Bennett offered ‘no evidence’ in the case of Mr Simpson, and Recorder Tony Hawks recorded a formal ‘not guilty’ verdict, discharging him from the dock.

Joe Hedworth, for now sole defendant, Fenny, told the court: “He’s very ashamed, and he’s asked me to convey his profound apologies over the undoubted shock he’s caused to the complainant in this case.”

He presented 16 character references, adding: “But, he’s well supported in the community.”

The court heard that Fenny is considered to pose a low risk of re-offending.

Recorder Hawks told him: “In your gross state of intoxication you completely misread the situation, but you seem to have an insight as, looking back, you say you completely understand that now.”

He imposed a 13-month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, during which Fenny must attend 20 probation-supervised rehabilitation activity days.

An unlimited restraining order was issued, prohibiting Fenny from contacting or approaching the victim, while he must register as a sex offender for five years.