Man avoids jail after slapping woman’s bum in city centre, while he was with his own partner

A man has pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a woman in a city centre as he walked past her with his girlfriend.

Calef Avant had travelled to the North East from Essex to spend the weekend with his partner and was walking past The Gate with her when he took the decision to slap a random woman’s bottom. Avant was said to be “smirking” at the woman after he did it, causing her to call her ex-boyfriend who then turned up, a fight ensured.

Avant, who is not from the North East but lives in Stanford House, Princess Margaret Road, East Tilbury, was later arrested and charged with sexual assault. The 37-year-old appeared at Newcastle Magistrates’ Court this week where he pleaded guilty to the offence, which had been carried out last year.

The court heard that in the early hours of the morning, Avant was holding hands with his girlfriend as they walked past Turtle Bay, near to The Gate in the city centre. The victim, who had been on a night out and was unknown to Avant, was standing outside trying to order a taxi.

Jonathan Stirland, prosecuting, said: “She was slapped on her bum and she looked up and saw [Avant] walking past, holding the hand of another female. He smirked at her. [The victim] had a short dress on and some contact was made with her skin. She shouted at him, ‘you just touched me’. The woman with [Avant] said, ‘he didn’t, he had hold of my hand’.”

The victim then called her ex-boyfriend, who soon arrived at the scene. Mr Stirland said “all hell broke loose” with a “melee” breaking out in the street. Avant, who had four previous convictions for two offences, none of which were of a sexual nature, was later arrested. In a statement, the victim said that the incident left her in “complete shock”.

Janice Hall, defending, said: “He very much regrets this incident and apologises for any distress. He did not intend to cause distress and was with his partner. There was fleeting contact, it was a slap to the bum.”

Ms Hall said that Avant had studied at Newcastle University where he met his partner and was up visiting her at the time. She added that Avant is a father-of-three and works as a dustman.

The case was adjourned so that a pre-sentence report could be put together. Avant will appear at Basildon Magistrates’ Court on May 22 for sentence.