December 2020

Sex offender, 59, who was jailed for infecting women with HIV is sent back to prison for four years

A highly dangerous sex offender from Devon who was jailed for infecting three women with HIV was today sent back to prison after introducing a string of vulnerable young women to convicted paedophiles.

James Defalco, 59, had previously started a sexual relationship with a 63-year-old woman without telling her he had HIV and was jailed for 32 months in 2019.  

He was jailed for a similar offence in 2005 after he infected an 82-year-old and was placed on a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO) which banned him from having sex with anyone without revealing his condition. 

At the time Defalco, of Brixham, Devon, was called Derek Hornett and was sent to prison for three years  and three months for causing her grievous bodily harm. 

In 2015 he befriended a 65-year-old woman on a dating website, and begun a sexual relationship with her – but again failed to tell her about his condition. 

She tested negative for HIV. He was jailed for four years and nine months.

Defalco has since breached the SOPO eleven times by contacting vulnerable women and introducing them to convicted child sex offenders, Exeter Crown Court heard. 

Within 12 days of him being released from prison in 2019, Defalco went to the home of a woman he was banned from seeing in Paignton, Devon, and banged on her door saying ‘it’s me’. She contacted the police and Defalco was arrested.  

The sex offender admitted breaching his SHPO and was sentenced today to four years in prison by Recorder Malcolm Gibney. 

Sentencing at Exeter Crown Court, Recorder Gibney said: ‘You are a persistent offender. You are patently prepared to ignore court orders which are there for the protection of the public from very serious harm or distress.’

Defalco was first jailed for having underage sex with a 15-year-old girl in 1989 and was banned from spending time with children alone.

He wooed his victims with presents of sexy underwear and romped with a string of elderly women. 

After he was jailed in 2015, he appealed his jail sentence – saying it was too tough.

But speaking at the time, Mr Justice Goss said: ‘This sentence was fully justified in light of his repetitive breaches as far as both younger and older targets were concerned.

‘It was a substantial sentence, but it was neither wrong in principle nor manifestly excessive and this appeal must be dismissed.’

February 2019: Defalco jailed for two years and eight months

Notorious Exeter sex offender who deliberately gave pensioner HIV spent night in tent with young girl

January 2019

Brixham repeat HIV sex offender faces ‘significant’ jail term

A man living with HIV is facing a “significant jail term” for having sex with a woman without telling her he has the virus.

Under the terms of a sexual offences prevention order (SOPO), James Defalco – formerly known as Derek Hornett, 57, has to tell anyone he is in a relationship with about his condition.

Defalco, from Brixham, Devon, admitted breaching the order between 18 August and 4 September, at Exeter Crown Court.

He has served two previous prison sentences for breaching the order.

The court heard he pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to a second breach of the SOPO by having contact with a child under the age of 16 without the contact being approved by social services and without the person supervising knowing about his convictions.

Judge David Evans ordered the preparation of a pre-sentence report on Defalco “dealing specifically” with the risk he poses to others.

“You have pleaded guilty to both of these serious offences,” he said.

“You understand that you will be sentenced to a significant term of custody in due course.”

He was remanded into custody and will be sentenced on 15 February.

Defalco had previously committed 50 offences of different kinds, including assault and dishonesty, some dating back to the 1970s.

In 2005 Defalco, who then went by the name of Derek Hornett, became one of the first people in Britain to be convicted of recklessly infecting someone with HIV.

The then 44-year-old infected admitted knowingly infecting an 82-year-old woman.

He was jailed for three years and three months and made a subject of the SOPO.

He previously admitted breaching the order in September 2014 by having sex with a woman without telling her about his condition and was also jailed.

AS well as a conviction for a child sexual offence in the 1980s, Defalco also breached in 2014, when he befriended a family which had young children and introduced two convicted paedophiles to them without revealing their past offending.

He gained the trust of the parent to such an extent they allowed him to take a nine-year-old girl out alone in his car and to share a tent with her in their garden.

The other men gained access to a boy from the same family and one of them went on to see the child naked while giving him a shower.

February 2015

Torquay HIV sex offender James Defalco is jailed

A TORQUAY sex offender has been jailed for having sex with a woman while infected with HIV – the second time he has committed the offence.

James Defalco, 54, of Mallard Road, befriended the woman on the internet via a dating website and then began a sexual relationship with her, Exeter Crown Court was told.

It put him in breach of a sexual offences prevention order imposed at the same court ten years ago when Defalco, then known as Derek Hornett, had a relationship with an 82-year-old woman and was jailed for deliberately infecting her with HIV.

Sentencing him to four years and nine months in jail for his latest offence the judge said he could not think of a more serious breach of a sex order and the prison term represented the most serious punishment he could make.

“This is as bad as it can possibly get” said Judge Philip Wassall.

“This alarmingly replicates the offence when you infected an 82-year-old with HIV.

“You befriended a lady of 65 over the internet. You then visited her and took the relationship on having befriended this lady as before and began a sexual relationship with her without telling her you were HIV.”

He said the pair had protected and unprotected sex.

His behaviour came to light thanks the vigilance of Defalco’s sex offender manager, who checked his phone records.

“Your offender manager contacted the woman concerned and informed her you were HIV,” said Judge Wassall.

“Just pause for a moment and think how she would have felt receiving that telephone call,” he told Defalco.

“In the ensuing months how she would have felt knowing your previous victim had been infected with HIV by you.” The woman was tested and found negative for HIV.

“This is the best news I could have had from the prosecution,” said the judge.

“I can’t imagine what she must have gone through in the meantime.”

When Defalco was arrested he told police he had told his victim about his condition and she had still engaged in sex. “This was a lie,” said the judge.

Eventually the defendant owned up and admitted four counts of breaching the terms of his order.

Defalco had previously committed 50 offences of different kinds, including assault and dishonesty, some dating back to the 1970s.

He was jailed in 2005 for infecting the pensioner and causing her grievous bodily harm. The court was told suspicions were raised when he started buying the woman sexy underwear and borrowing money.

He breached his order again in 2009 by befriending and working with older people. In 2013 he notched up another breach and in June last year failed to comply with the notification requirements by travelling to the Channel Islands to meet a woman.

Judge Wassall said he had to give credit to the defendant for his guilty plea but said the 57 months was the most he could impose considering his “willful and persistent” history of ignoring the order.

July 2014

Exeter sex offender who infected 82-year-old woman with HIV back in court

NOTORIOUS sex offender James Defalco – who was previously jailed for infecting an 82-year-old woman with HIV – has been back in court for breaching a court order.

He failed to tell police he was travelling to the Channel Islands to meet a woman and has been given a community order by magistrates in Torquay.

The requirement was one of a number of measures put in place in 2005 to protect women from his activities.

But he travelled to the island for two weeks this year without telling the authorities.

He said he did not know Guernsey was outside the UK.

Magistrates said Defalco, previously of Whitestone near Exeter, and now of Mallard Close in Torquay, should pay £255 in fines and costs and be put under supervision of the probation service for 18 months.

Defalco, 53, pleaded guilty to breaching the notification requirements of the Sex Offenders’ Register.

It was imposed in 2005 after Defalco, then known as Derek Hornett, became one of the first people in Britain to be jailed for recklessly infecting a person with HIV.

He was sentenced to three years and three months at Exeter Crown Court for causing grievous bodily harm to the 82-year-old woman.

Prosecutor Chris Bittlestone told magistrates: “It is a fact that Guernsey is not part of the UK and part of the notification requirements as a result of the order in 2005 is a requirement he must tell police when intending to leave the country.

“The reason being is that people convicted of these offences can get up to mischief when the eyes of the law are not on them.”

In 2005 Defalco was also made subject of a Sexual Offences Prevention Order. Among other measures he is prohibited from having lawful sex with anyone without telling them he is HIV positive.

Mr Bittlestone said since 2005 Defalco had breached this order five times.

The current offence was not a further breach of the SOPO — only of the notification requirement — but he said magistrates ‘may take the view this cannot be completely ignored’.

But Ceylan Bayram, representing Defalco, said the breach was ‘inadvertent’ rather than deliberate. He had breached his SOPO twice rather five times, she added.

“This is a relatively minor breach over a period of two weeks. It’s the first breach of the notification requirement which has been in place since 2005.

“He didn’t check Guernsey was outside the UK before travelling.”

The island is a British dependency but not part of the UK.

Defalco, the court was told, earned £32 a week in benefits.

Magistrates sentenced him after reading a pre-sentence report ordered at a previous hearing where police described the defendant as a ‘high risk’ offender.

They gave him credit for his early guilty plea but said any further breach could see him sent to jail.

Previously neighbours of his at Whitestone said he was not welcome back to the village after they discovered his dark past

May 2014

Notorious Exeter sex offender who deliberately gave pensioner HIV spent night in tent with 9 year old girl

A sex offender has been banned from any contact with children after a Judge heard he spent a night alone in a tent with a nine-year-old girl.

Detectives feared Derek Hornett was grooming the little girl and may have been planning to procure her for two known paedophiles he befriended at a hostel for ex offenders.

Hornett, aged 53, has also been banned from contacting North Devon child abuser Terrence Kelly and Torbay-based Michael White because of fears they may be a danger to children.

The three men met at a post-release half-way house in Teignmouth after all three had been jailed for separate sexual crimes.

Hornett, who also used the name of James Defalco, befriended a family which had young children and introduced the other two without revealing their past offending.

He gained the trust of the parent to such an extent they allowed him to take a nine-year-old girl out alone in his car and to share a tent with her in their garden.

The other men gained access to a boy from the same family and one of them went on to see the child naked while giving him a shower.

Terrence Kelly, aged 60, (pictured below) from Ilfracombe, has already been banned from having contact with the other two men by a Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO) made at Exeter Crown Court last month.

Terrence Kelly

Hornett was made subject to a similar order by Judge Francis Gilbert, QC at the same court and his SOPO was also extended to prohibit unsupervised access to any child under 16.

He is now required to tell the parent or guardian of any child he meets about his criminal background, which includes a caution and a conviction for unlawful sexual intercourse.

Hornett, from Whitestone, near Exeter, was jailed last year for breaking another clause in his SOPO which forbade any contact with people over 60.

He has a previous conviction dating from 2005 for causing grievous bodily harm to an 82-year-old woman who became HIV positive after he befriended her in Torbay. On that occasion he was jailed for three years and three months.

Hornett opposed the extension of the order but Judge Gilbert agreed it was necessary after reading a report from a police public protection officer.

It said there was intelligence which raised concerns about his contact with children going back to the 1970s culminating with his alleged grooming of a nine-year-old girl last year.

He also introduced Kelly and White to the family where they gained access to other children.

Mr James Taghdissian, prosecuting, said:”There were safeguarding concerns he was grooming and at worst procuring children to be abused by two other people who he knew to have criminal interests in sexual activity with children.”

Miss Ceylan Bayram, defending, said Hornett’s only conviction involving a child dated back to the 1980s and there was no recent evidence against him.

Judge Gilbert ruled the SOPO should be extended. He said:”The police view is that he was grooming a female child, having established himself in a position of trust with her family.

“It is clear that contact was wholly inappropriate and he introduced the two other registered sex offenders to the family. They both had convictions against children and were both subject to SOPOs.

“The police report says Hornett demonstrates a risk and a preventative strategy is necessary to prevent him identifying further potential victims. I entirely agree with the police’s concerns.

“These restrictions to not prevent him living a completely honest and decent life provided he stays away from children.”

Kelly, aged 60, formerly of Market Street, Ilfracombe, and White, aged 55, from Torquay, were both jailed for two years in July 2013 for breaching Sexual Offenders Prevention Orders.

Kelly was a registered sex offender because he was jailed for a year at Exeter Crown Court in 2010 for sexually assaulting three boys aged 12 or 13 when he was living in Market Street, Ilfracombe.

White was jailed for four years in 2008 for having sex with a 15-year-old girl while he was living in a hotel at Exeter Road, Exmouth.