Convicted sex offender Paul Reed assaulted schoolgirls, a neighbour and a rough sleeper
A pint-sized transvestite from Chatham who dressed as a granny to grope two young women and a schoolgirl has been jailed for three years today (July 1).
Convicted sex offender Paul Reed, who is just 4ft 10in, has been repeatedly banned by court orders since 2007 from engaging with females while using his ‘old lady’ guise.
The softly-spoken 57-year-old donned a coat, woollen hat and a scarf wrapped across his lower face to prey on unsuspecting victims at bus stops, train stations or outside hospitals.
The original ban was imposed after he was convicted of sexual offences against children.
But over the past 12 years he has been persistently caught chatting to, holding hands, hugging and even trying to kiss young women while hiding his true identity.
One past victim was so convinced by his adopted persona that she only realised he was in fact a man when his gloves slipped off to reveal hairy hands.
However, his behaviour took a more sinister turn in December 2017 when he molested a teenager as she waited at a bus stop.
Maidstone Crown Court heard he ignored the 15-year-old’s desperate pleas to stop hugging her before putting his hand up her school skirt and tightly gripping her thigh.
She eventually managed to flee his clutches but had to hide behind a billboard until her bus arrived.
His other victims included a neighbour and a rough sleeper. Reed again struck up conversations by asking if they were cold before wrapping a scarf around them or hugging them tightly.
He even told one his name was Katrina but to call him Katie, and the women later told police they were convinced Reed was simply a lonely old woman wanting company.
The court was told that of the 62 offences making up his 28 previous convictions, 24 were for breaches of his sexual offender orders, with all but one marked by suspended sentences or community orders.
But a judge decided today that prison was now unavoidable after he admitted a further eight breaches and three offences of sexual assault.
Judge Adele Williams ignored a plea from his lawyer that he should be spared prison to undergo a ‘specifically-targeted and onerous’ treatment programme called the Horizon Project.
Passing sentence, she said Reed, who has been a transvestite for almost 50 years, had repeatedly failed to take advantage of any assistance previously provided by the courts.
‘Your behaviour has caused very serious distress’
Judge Williams told him: “You have an entrenched and long-standing compulsion to behave in this way and my duty is now clear. It is to protect the public from your behaviour.
“There are persistent breaches here and your behaviour has caused very serious distress.”
The unemployed cross-dresser, who was sporting stubble and wearing a grey cardigan when he appeared in court, was again made subject to an indefinite sexual harm prevention order.
He will also have to continue to sign on the sex offender register on his release.
Prosecutor Lucy Luttman told the sentencing hearing that the sexual assaults occurred between December 2017 and March this year.
The schoolgirl was waiting at a bus stop in Maidstone at about 6.30pm on December 23, 2017 when Reed approached her, first saying they should be friends before adding ‘You must be really cold. Let me warm you up’.
He then gripped her tightly and hugged her before running his hand up her leg under her school skirt and holding her thigh ‘very firmly’, said Miss Luttman.
Reed ignored her pleas to stop and pushed her phone away when she went to use it. The teenager eventually escaped his clutches but could not call her mum as by then her phone had run out of charge.
“She was panicked and crying, and she hid behind a billboard until her bus arrived,” said Miss Luttman.
His second victim, a neighbour, was targeted at a bus stop in Chatham. Reed was said to have ‘cornered’ the woman before holding her hand and nestling his head on the top of her breast.
“He kept looking up at her and hugging her,” said the prosecutor. “She described it as feeling horrible and only allowed it because she felt scared.”
She was also convinced Reed was a woman, and repeatedly referred to him as ‘she’ in her victim impact statement.
A month later she was again singled out by Reed, this time while travelling on a bus. His face was said to have ‘lit up’ on recognising her.
“He took hold of her hand and struck up conversation. She didn’t know what to do and responded with conversation,” said Miss Luttman.
“The defendant continued to hold her hand throughout the duration of the 15 minute journey. He then started touching her collar from behind, saying he was making sure she was warm, a feature of his offending.
“He then took a scarf from his bag and wrapped it around her. She felt uncomfortable and left.”
However, Reed approached her later that same day at a taxi rank, coming up behind the woman and touching her shoulder.
“She was really shaken by how close the ‘woman’ was and she said she really freaked out. The defendant said he was just checking she was getting home okay and asked for his scarf back,” said Miss Luttman.
It was only when the victim told her partner what had happened that he figured out Reed was responsible.
“Throughout the incident she was convinced the defendant was a woman because of the way he was dressed and because he spoke with a female voice,” continued the prosecutor.
“He had told her his name was Katrina and to call him Katie. Never once did she think he was a man. She thought he was a lonely woman, felt sorry for her and wouldn’t have been rude to her.”
The victim was said to have been left feeling vulnerable and anxious by Reed’s warped behaviour.
“I feel absolutely destroyed and mugged off that this was a man,” she told police. “I just felt sorry for her.”
Reed was arrested and released on bail, with a condition not to dress in his female guise.
However, undeterred, he then targeted a homeless woman in Chatham High Street in March this year. He was again wearing women’s clothing with his lower face obscured by a scarf.
Miss Luttman said the victim ‘genuinely believed’ Reed was a woman.
Having struck up conversation, he asked the woman if she was cold before wrapping a scarf around her and giving her a pair of gloves.
Reed then began to hug her and pulled her head towards his chest, rubbing her hair. His victim felt ‘uncomfortable and embarrassed’ as people were looking at them but was able to eventually leave.
A few days later Reed, still dressed as an old lady, saw the same rough sleeper and asked for his scarf back before wrapping another around her.
But on this occasion he was recognised by a civilian police officer.
“He referred to him as Paul and it was only then that the victim realised the defendant was not a female,” added Miss Luttman.
“She told police ‘I felt something wasn’t right but I just didn’t believe him not to be a woman’.”
When interviewed by police Reed denied the offences and said his clothing was generic.
His sexual offending started in 1994 but it was not until 2007 that he received his first ban from approaching women while dressed as a granny.
It followed his conviction for two charges of sexual activity with a child.
Despite multiple breaches since, the court heard Reed has only been jailed on one previous occasion in June 2009 when he was also convicted of three offences of sexual assault.
Transvestite who dressed as old lady to grope young girls told he can keep wearing women’s clothing ‘to meet his emotional needs’
Jailed in 2009 for luring a 14-year-old girl into his car
Caught breaching prevention order after release
The 5ft 50-year-old would sidle up to women/girls while wearing perfume and a scarf over his face
Turned to transvestism aged 11 after being bullied because of his small stature