August 2009

MERCY FOR WORKINGTON PAEDOPHILE DYING OF CANCER

A WORKINGTON paedophile has been granted “mercy” by the courts – after it was revealed that he is dying of cancer.

Lockyear McGlasson, 61, was told by Judge Paul Batty QC at Carlisle Crown Court yesterday that, had he been a “fit man”, he would have faced a “very lengthy sentence of custody” after pleading guilty to 11 sex offences – including seven relating to a girl aged between six and nine.

But the court heard how, since he entered his pleas on July 18, McGlasson, of Cumberland Street, had been diagnosed with cancer of the oesophagus which was now in an “advanced state”.

As a result, Judge Batty imposed a custodial sentence of two years, “considerably less” than McGlasson would otherwise have served.

McGlasson, who appeared via video-link yesterday, committed the offences against the girl, which included a sexual assault, causing or inciting her to engage in sexual activity, two counts of sexual touching, and one count of sexual activity with her, over a period of four years.

He had also pleaded guilty to two counts of taking indecent photos of her and four counts of possessing indecent images of a child, after police discovered 79 images and 19 movies stored on his computer.

McGlasson had been told by Judge Batty, before the cancer diagnosis was made, that his “terrible crimes” meant that a lengthy prison sentence was “inevitable”.

But yesterday McGlasson’s defence counsel, Greg Hoare, highlighted the “unusual” position that the court now found themselves in. He said: “He has cancer of the oesophagus in a very advanced state.

“It’s ironic that these situations always seem to arise in the face of wider publicity for other issues. For the courts to have to deal with these matters is very unusual.

“I think it would be inappropriate for me to invite you to pass a prison sentence on Mr McGlasson that did not properly reflect the offending itself.”

Mr Hoare said he believed that, in the face of McGlasson’s “life-threatening circumstances” the court was now faced with two options – to “step back” from custody completely, or to pass a custodial sentence that “reflects the health matters he plainly has”.

On sentencing, Judge Batty told McGlasson that he had read his medical records which “indicate that you’re suffering from a very grave illness indeed from which it’s expected you will not recover”.

He described the crimes as “gross sexual abuse” but said that the sentence he imposed was “as an act of mercy” and added that “nothing I have said will affect the Secretary of State’s power to release you on compassionate grounds.”

McGlasson was sentenced to two years for sexually assaulting the girl, 18 months concurrent for the other offences against her, and a further nine months concurrent for the possession of the indecent images.