Santa Claus worker from North East spared jail over sex assaults
A pensioner who sexually assaulted two women whilst working as Santa Claus for an entertainment company has kept his freedom.
During the course of two festive engagements, Raymond Finn smacked one woman on the bottom before rubbing himself against her and a separate victim.
During his sentencing hearing at Newcastle Crown Court, Judge Christopher Prince told the 71-year-old: "You continued to deny that you were guilty of these offences and you denied you were guilty of these offences at trial.
"You accused the complainants of conspiracy to tell lies against you. I can publicly state you are the liar and they are not liars because that was the determination of the jury.
"Not only are they not liars but in coming forward they have succeeded in protecting other people from offending by you.
"You were working for an entertainment group, you played the role of Father Christmas."
The court heard that after "smacking" the first woman, Finn tried to force a chocolate bar into her mouth before pushing his groin onto her as she resisted.
Prosecutor Vince Ward said the defendant later grabbed a second victim from behind and pushed himself against her as well.
Finn denied the allegations against him but was found guilty by a jury at Newcastle Crown Court in May.
However, Finn, of Brentwood Avenue, Newbiggin, was found guilty of three counts of sexual assault.
In mitigation, Christopher Knox told the court that Finn was of previous good character and that he would not be going back to that type of work.
Whilst summing up Judge Prince said on balance he was satisfied any custodial term imposed on Finn could be suspended.
He added: "I'm of the view that in this case by way of your personal mitigation that there is a realistic prospect of rehabilitation after you have done the course which you will be sent on.
"The jury are quite sure in this case they (the complainants) told the truth."
Finn was sentenced to four months imprisonment suspended for 18 months with 30 days of rehabilitation requirements.
He must also sign the sex offender's register and be subject to a sexual harm prevention order, both for seven years.