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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 November 2007, 20:22 GMT
Carrot 'joke' sex attacker guilty
A driving instructor who hid a carrot in his trousers and pretended it was his erect penis has been convicted of four sex attacks on his pupils.

Stephen Cooney, 51, groped three women learner drivers in a series of attacks on Teesside dating back to 2002.

A jury at Teesside Crown Court found him guilty of two indecent assaults and two sexual assaults.

He told the court the carrot incident was a "practical joke". He was bailed and will be sentenced on 7 December.

The court heard how Cooney put the 12-inch carrot down his trousers and told a pupil in her 40s that a perfectly executed manoeuvre was so good that it had given him an erection.

He then took her hand and made her touch the vegetable before showing her the carrot, the court heard.

'Unprofessional and stupid'

He denied placing her hand on his groin, but admitted hiding the vegetable in his pocket.

He told the jury: "I admit it was unprofessional, stupid, and I regret doing it.

"I just thought maybe I would play a practical joke, but obviously it was stupid."

The court also heard that when another pupil failed her test, he offered to waive the 80 she owed him if she pulled over into a lay-by and had sex with him.

She told the court: "I just said 'No thank you, Steve'."

He regularly groped her during lessons between August 2005 and February last year, the hearing heard.

When police arrested him they also found naked photos in the glove box of his Vauxhall Corsa.



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