A 40-YEAR-OLD man who was resident at a Lancaster hostel for recovering alcoholics indecently assaulted a woman in front of other residents, a court heard.

Preston Crown Court was told that Stephen Morris lowered his trousers and made an indecent suggestion to the woman.

The assault culminated in Morris touching the woman's leg and moving her skirt up her leg. He put his hands either side of her chair and made afurther lewd comment."

Morris, of Ulverston, pleaded guilty to indecent assault at an earlier hearing and was jailed for a total of seven months.

Miss Rachael Woods, prosecuting, told the court the offence took place in June last year at a therapy unit in Lancaster for recovering alcoholics who were voluntary residents. Morris had confessed to another resident that he believed his victim had been flirting with him, but was told he had misinterpreted her feelings towards him.

An hour or so later, Morris was overheard telling the woman that he had feelings for her and he felt he loved her. The woman hugged him. It was meant as a form of comfort. Then they parted company.

Later Morris came into the TV room in a jovial mood. "He pulled down his jogging pants and underpants and exposed himself. The woman and two others tried to laugh it off and Morris was told to stop," said Miss Woods.

Miss Woods said other residents told Morris he had "gone too far".

Morris then tilted the woman's chair back. He then went to the front of her chair and sat asride the woman. Again he was told to stop. Morris then sat on a chair next to the woman and began to touch her leg and he started to move her skirt. He was told to "pack it in."

The incident came to an end when a male resident intervened and took hold of Morris. He later told police there had been no indecent assault and the allegations were untrue and a concoction.

Mr Mark Lamberty, defending, said a psychiatrist report revealed Morris was not suffering from psychiatric illness or a specific personality disorder.

Drink had been a long standing problem for Morris. Morris had pleaded guilty and saved with woman from giving evidence. The experience had been upsetting for her.

It had been a strange incident as it had occurred in front of two adult witnesses. On several occasions when asked to desist, Morris had done, but then reverted back to the conduct.