A man who indecently assaulted a 14-year-old girl has avoided being sent to prison.
Damien Peters, 20, had been drinking heavily when he began following the girl in Great Cornard in March 2011, Ipswich Crown Court heard on Wednesday.
Prosecutor Robert Sadd said Peters encouraged the girl to walk with him before trying to kiss and touch her.
Before the incident progressed any further, Peters ran off after the girl’s cries attracted the attention of a member of the public.
Police were able to identify Peters, who has a string of previous convictions for assault and robbery, and he was arrested. He subsequently pleaded guilty to a charge of sexual assault.
In mitigation, Ian James said issues in Peters’ life had been highlighted in a 10-page pre-sentence report prepared by the Probation Service.
Sentencing him, Judge Rupert Overbury told Peters: “What you did was obviously an extremely frightening and shocking episode for a 14-year-old girl.
“Had it not been for the fact you had been drinking, appearing as the victim describes ‘off your face’, you probably would not have behaved in the way that you did.”
Peters, formerly of Great Cornard but now living in Grimsby, was sentenced to a three-year community order with a requirements to take part in programmes designed to help sex offenders and people with alcohol problems.
He was ordered to sign the sexual offenders’ register for five years and was made the subject of a restraining order banning him from making any contact with his victim.