July 2010

Paedo jailed for ban breach

A SEX offender has been locked up for ignoring a court order banning him from his former home in Chard.

John Horton was served with an Antisocial Behaviour Injunction at a county court hearing last September.

The order prevented him from returning to the home he shared with his partner and children in Reed Close on his release from prison until September 14, 2014.

A spokesman from Yeovil County Court confirmed that Horton was last week jailed for 21 days for breaching the order. It is believed he was arrested after numerous sightings of him in the estate.

Residents teamed up with Knightstone Housing Association to take the legal action, claiming Horton intimidated, threatened and acted violently towards them as well as using other people’s property for car repairs.

Mark Beard, director of operations at Knightstone, said: “We attended court last week and can confirm that John Horton has been given an immediate 21 days custodial sentence for breaching the terms of his injunction. We will continue to liaise closely with the police and other authorities making sure that together all available powers are used to manage this case.”

Horton was previously convicted of indecent assault on a girl under 16 and other charges including robbery, kidnapping and causing grievous bodily harm with intent. He was sent to prison in 2008 after breaching his bail conditions with a female minor.

Horton claimed the residents were carrying out a witch hunt and the only reason people wanted him out of the area was because of the stigma of his past convictions.

His defence team argued he did not pose the threat his neighbours claimed but Judge Brian Smith was not convinced.

In his ruling he said: “A significant risk of harm would be presented to your neighbours if you return. There is peace and calm in Reed Close. All the residents are happy now and quite clearly the defendant’s return would very seriously affect the sense of well-being.

“Through numerous breaches of orders he has already demonstrated he will do what he likes and I have no doubt he will continue to do so if allowed back to Reed Close.”

This week, one resident said: “I thank the judge for seeing this case through. So many more in Reed Close wanted to give evidence but were scared of him. Some of us stood together and fought back to stop this convicted dangerous paedophile.”

A spokesman for Avon and Somerset Constabulary refused to comment on the court action.