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A former Gogglebox star who carried out a s*xual assault on a teenager blamed his behavior on “diet drugs” as he was jailed for 29 months today.
Andrew Bennett, who starred in series 12 of the popular Channel 4 show, cornered the boy in a house before subjecting him to a shocking attack that left him ‘in tears’ and having flashbacks.
A court heard that Bennett, 47, had taken selfies with the victim but then put his hands down his pants, bit him and tried to lure him into a room to have oral s*x.
Bennett, from Sunderland, initially denied any wrongdoing and blamed his actions on “slimming drugs” he was taking at the time.
But after a police investigation found DNA linking him to the boy, Bennett admitted to a single charge of causing or enticing a child to engage in s*xual activity and two counts of s*xual activity with a child.
He was sentenced to 29 months in prison, added to the s*x offenders register and subject to a ten year s*xual harm prevention order at Newcastle Crown Court today.
Prosecutor Glenn Gatland earlier told the court that Bennett, who had been drinking, asked the boy if he and his girlfriend had had s*x, before proceeding to put his hands down his pants.
He said: ‘He started saying that he was gay and asking (the complainant) if he was gay.
The complainant said that he was not gay. The defendant began to put his hands in his pants again, then told him to get away from him and began to kiss the back of his neck and took a bite.
The court heard that Bennett told the victim that “if he were straight, he would tell her that he didn’t want her to touch his penis.”
Mr Gatland said the boy reminded Bennett that he was a boy, the TV star told him: ‘Stop, you’re making me feel bad.’
But Bennett kept chasing the victim, asking if they could go upstairs to have oral s*x, before the teen ran out of the house “in tears.”
Bennett was arrested after the incident and told officers he was “appalled” that he might have behaved in such a way and blamed a weight-loss aid.
In a victim impact statement read in court today, the boy said: ‘I admired Andrew. He interested me what he did. I am aware that he was on Gogglebox a while ago.
‘What happened in those few hours will be with me for a long time. “I felt scared and very uncomfortable. Not know what to do.
The boy also said that he was left with ‘flashbacks’ and added: ‘I’m trying to be positive and move on, however I think this will take some time.’
Gavin Doig, representing Bennett, said in mitigation that the defendant had no previous dealings with the police and had been involved in charity work.
He added that Bennett “couldn’t have been more sorry.”
But in sentencing, Judge Tim Gittins told the defendant that the love bite was “a clear injury and a painful and unwanted reminder of his unwanted attention that night.”
He added: ‘You tried to blame slimming drugs for your behaviour. I recognize that this was an aberration in your behavior, it was not planned and it only happened because you were intoxicated.
Bennett, from Gleneagles Road, Sunderland, was jailed for 29 months.
Andrew Bennett Quick and Facts
- Andrew Bennett, from Sunderland, starred in series 12 of the Channel 4 show
- He cornered the victim at a house before subjecting him to a shocking attack
- Bennett put hands down his trousers and tried to lure boy into room for oral s*x
- He had been jailed for 29 months after hearing at Newcastle Crown Court today