A CONVICTED sex offender’s court apology to his victim was dismissed as “crocodile tears” by a judge who presided over his recent trial.

Paul Rumney previously denied sexually assaulting the woman and the case went to trial at Durham Crown Court last month, during which the complainant had to give evidence, before the jury found him guilty of two of three offences on unanimous verdicts.

The defendant, 37, formerly of Orchard Terrace, Chester-le-Street, and now said to be care/of Laurel Crescent, in nearby High Handenhold, was cleared on the other count after the four-day trial.

During the trial, the court was told on learning the victim intended to report him to police, Rumney described her as considering herself, “The avenger for women.”

But at his sentencing hearing, his barrister, Robert Newcombe, told the court: “I’m instructed to make a public apology to this court.”

Judge Christopher Prince intervened, asking Mr Newcombe: “So, does he admit committing these two offences against her?”

After Mr Newcombe confirmed it, the judge said: “Then, why did he plead not guilty?”

Mr Newcombe said: “His memory was affected by alcohol to the extent that he was unable to admit committing the acts.

“But, he entirely accepts the jury convicted him of acting deliberately.”

The judge responded: “He pleaded not guilty. He loses credit for not saying that before trial, thereby forcing the complainant to have to give evidence at trial.

“I consider these are ‘crocodile tears’, empty words, as he subjected the complainant to the trauma of giving evidence at trial.”

Mr Newcombe said: “Of course, he had the choice of admitting the offending.”

The court heard Rumney, a skilled welder, had been drinking heavily before committing the offences and was prone to binge drinking.

Mr Newcombe said after losing his job and his family, when the allegations arose, Rumney reached “rock bottom”, but has since resurrected himself, curbing his drinking, and finding work once again.

Passing a two-year prison sentence, Judge Prince told Rumney: “In mitigation it’s said you are remorseful. I disregard that. There’s nothing to indicate remorse. Self-pity, yes, but not remorse.”

Rumney was made subject of ten-year registration as a sex offender and an indefinite restraining order.