September 2013

‘Worried’ judge frees Redcar child sex offender – so he can receive treatment

Gordon Bywater

A JUDGE told of his worries about the risk posed by a child sex offender – before letting him walk free from court.

Gordon Bywater was spared jail because he will get better help for his “addiction” in the community than behind bars.

The 44-year-old virgin was chased and caught by angry onlookers and parents of children after taking photographs of young girls in a seaside town.

When police searched his home nearby they found more than 400 indecent images on his computer and in a scrapbook.

Among the pictures were cartoons depicting violent rape, and images of bestiality, Teesside Crown Court was told.

The photographs taken by unemployed Bywater were of girls as young as ten – all clothed – in and around the Redcar area.

After his arrest in May, the former sheet metal worker admitted creating a library of filth for sexual gratification.

Robert Mochrie, mitigating, told the court Bywater had been bullied as a child for being overweight and smelly.

“He never found any real social footing, and it is rather embarrassing for him because at 44 he is a man who has never had any form of physical sexual experience with an adult at all,” Mr Mochrie told Judge Howard Crowson.

“I don’t ask Your Honour or the public to try to see how anybody would come to the conclusion that viewing child pornography is appropriate.

“He has never had a relationship with the opposite sex or otherwise, that people of his age ordinarily would have experienced.

“It is perhaps possible to see how his interest in pornography might have spiralled out of control.”

Bywater, of Ventnor Court, Redcar, admitted eight charges of making indecent images and four of possessing them.

He was given a 52-week prison sentence, suspended for two years, with supervision, and was ordered to go on the sex offenders’ treatment programme.

Judge Crowson also banned him from working with children and ordered him to sign on the sex offenders’ register for ten years.

The judge told Bywater: “I have my disquiet about this but I have my duty to protect the public and in my judgement that’s the bes way in your case.

“I see a great number of cases where men become so engrossed in pornography their computer is riddled with it, and the ones I meet are the ones who have begun to find fascination and sexual interest in underage girls, but it is rare I find it has gone outside the house.

“Perhaps you have been caught early, but I can’t sentence you for something you haven’t done, but it does concern me.

“If I imposed the sentence [immediately] everyone in the country knows you will be released after about half of it, probably less.

“My greater concern is to protect people in the future, protecting them by keeping you in prison for only a few weeks doesn’t provide any long-term reassurance.”