March 1998

Convicted sex offender failed to register with police

A CONVICTED sex offender who on his release from prison did not inform the police of his whereabouts appeared beforeSkipton magistrates this week.

Neil Cox, 50, of Cawder Green, Skipton, admitted contravening the new Sex Offenders Act 1997, which requires convicted offenders to register with the police when they are let out of prison. The act is designed keep track of offenders and therefore offer greater protection to the public.

Sarah Tyrer, prosecuting, said Cox, who had been jailed for six years for indecently assaulting a 16-year-old girl, was released in January.

She said: “Cox had to notify the police of any address he stayed at for more than 14 days and the police should also have been notified 14 days beforehand.”

However, Cox returned to his family home at Cawder Green without informing the police who questioned him on February 7.

She added: “When asked why he did not register, he claimed he did not get such a form from the prison.”

John Mewies, defending, asked the court to accept that Neil Cox was not told by the prison authorities of the need to register. In the preparation for his release he had “thrust upon him a number of forms to sign” and the mistake probably occurred in the confusion.

Cox was released on January 12 and Mr Mewies said he was not aware of the need to register before January 26, until police had brought it to his attention on February 7.

He added that Cox had then come to see him and registered straight away.

Mr Mewies said: “What harm has been done? The police knew where he was.”

Cox was given a conditional discharge for six months and ordered to pay £50 costs.