Gogglebox star Andrew Bennett jailed for sex attack on teenage boy

Former Gogglebox star Andrew Bennett has been sentenced to 29 months behind bars after he was found guilty of sexually assaulting a teenage boy.

The 47 year old, who first shot to fame in series 12 of the hit Channel 4 show, had taken “selfies” with his victim before cornering the young boy on the sofa and placing his hands down his pants.

He then went on to give him a love bite before attempting to lure him to a bedroom for oral sex.

The Sunderland based TV star initially denied all charges and blamed his behaviour on the use of "slimming drugs”, but quickly changed his plea after DNA evidence tied him to the attack.

Andrew Bennett, of Gleneagles Road, Sunderland, admitted one charge of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and two of sexual activity with a child.

At a sentencing hearing at Newcastle Crown Court on Thursday, he was sentenced to 29 months behind bars by presiding Judge Tim Gittins.

The former Channel 4 star must now sign the sex offenders register and abide by a sexual harm prevention order for 10 years.

Judge Gittins said the love bite was a "clear injury and unwanted, painful reminder of your unwanted attentions that night" and told Bennett: “You sought to blame slimming drugs for your behaviour.

"I acknowledge this was an aberration in your behaviour, it was unplanned and only occurred because you were intoxicated."

Glenn Gatland, prosecuting, told the court that Andrew, who had been drinking at the time, had asked his victim if he and his girlfriend had had sex yet before placing his hand down the teenager’s pants.

Mr Gatland added: "He started saying he was gay and was asking (the complainant) if he was gay.

"The complainant said he was not gay.

"The defendant started to put his hands down his pants again then told him to turn away from him and started kissing him on the back of his neck and gave him a lovebite."

The court heard that the Gogglebox star then told his victim "if he was straight he would tell him he didn't want him touching his penis".

The teenage boy then went on to remind Andrew that he was a child and the star told him: "Stop, you are making me feel bad.”

Unwilling to take no for an answer, the star continued to pursue the boy and at one point even tried to entice him upstairs to a bedroom for oral sex, with his teenage victim then fleeing the house "in tears”.

Following the attack, the teenager was left traumatised and suffering from flashbacks as he tried to process and move on from what had happened.

In a statement read to the court, the victim said: "I looked up to Andrew. I was interested in what he did. I am aware he was on Gogglebox a while ago.

"What happened in that few hours will be with me for a very long time. I felt frightened and very uncomfortable. I didn't know what to do."

"I am trying to be positive and move on, however I do think this will take some time.”

Ahead of Andrew’s sentencing, the court heard that the TV star had been involved in charity work and had no dealings with the police prior to this occasion.

Gavin Doig, defending the TV star, said he "could not be more remorseful" for what he did and handed in "multiple" references from people who speak highly of him, before adding that he posed a low risk of re-offending and has "lost his good name forever", as well as his employment.

The star will now remain behind bars for 29 months, with his name placed on the sex offenders register, along with being subject to a sexual harm prevention order for the next ten years.

Following the sentence, CPS North East's Andrew Jones said: "Andrew Bennett forced himself upon his young victim, touching him inappropriately before attempting to incite him into further sexual acts,” reports the Mirror.

"During his first interview with police Bennett denied having touched his victim, claiming only to have spoken to the boy at the time of the alleged attacks, but then claimed that his behaviour had been affected by slimming tablets when further physical evidence was shown to him," Jones continued.

"The Crown Prosecution Service has worked closely with police, piecing together forensic evidence and witness testimony to build a robust case, which has been instrumental in securing guilty pleas to all charges against the defendant."

He said: "Andrew Bennett carried out these attacks in a selfish pursuit of his own sexual gratification and the impact on this boy has been significant. We sincerely hope that the sentence passed today provides some measure of comfort to him."

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