June 2010

Pervert found in Sawbridgeworth park

A CONVICTED sex offender was found in a Sawbridgeworth open space acting suspiciously –  in defiance of a court ban.

Wayne Challis, who previously tried to pay a teenage boy for sex, was found by police officers in Pishiobury Park in the town on May 9 this year. A woman walking her dog had spotted him walking with his hood up beside a fence and decided to raise the alarm.

St Albans Crown Court was told on Monday (June 21) that when officers questioned Challis he gave false names in an attempt to hide his guilty secret.

Challis, 51, of Crown Close, Sheering, pleaded guilty to obstructing police and breaching a Sexual Offences Prevention Order which was imposed on him on March 31 last year.

It included the condition that Challis should not go into any park where members of the public would be present, following his conviction at Chelmsford Crown Courtfor causing or inciting prostitution.

Challis had offered a teenage boy £20 to engage in sexual activity with him, but the youngster went home and told his mum – and she contacted the police, leading to the defendant’s arrest.

On Monday (June 21) prosecutor Alan Landsbury said a woman had become suspicious of Challis after noticing him walking by a perimeter fence in the park, with his hands in his pocket, hunched up and with a hood pulled up over his face.

The area was “off the beaten track” said the prosecutor and so she called the police.

Two officers found him still in the park and when questioned, he told them: “I have just come here to sit down.” He claimed his name was David Cook from Sheering, but checks proved he had lied.

He gave a second phoney name and when that too was found to be false, he told the police officers: “It’s a bit embarrassing. I offered money for sex.”

The officers noticed he had been drinking and the buttons on the jeans were undone.

Patrick Maggs, defending, said following his appearance at Chelmsford, Challis had made “progress” after being ordered to seek help for his drinking and attend a sex offenders programme.

Recorder Philip Brook Smith QC sentenced Challis to 12 weeks’ imprisonment, but suspended it for a year. He was made the subject of a 12-month supervision order and the three-year community order imposed on him at Chelmsford last year will continue.