October 2015

Child sex offender locked up for 20 months after breaching sexual offences order for THIRD time

Craig Thorpe

A child sex offender is back behind bars after defying a sexual offences prevention order when caught in the same house as a young child.

Craig Thorpe, 25, was one of two men locked up for two and a half years for his part in sexually assaulting two girls, aged between 12 and 13, in May 2009 and was handed an indefinite ban from unsupervised contact with anyone aged under 18. 

But Thorpe was caught by police in a house with a young child in August this year after he started seeing a woman this summer, Teesside Crown Court heard on Wednesday.

It is the third time that Thorpe, of Downe Street, Liverton Mines , has breached his order – leaving Recorder Sarah Dodd with “no option” but to send him to prison.

Mitigating, Graham Brown said there has never been any suggestion that any inappropriate behaviour took place.

Prosecutor Shaun Dryden told the court that the woman had not been vetted by social services to supervise contact between Thorpe and children.

Mr Dryden said that Thorpe had been given a 12 month prison sentence in June, suspended for 18 months, for failing to comply with his order.

But factory worker Thorpe then appeared in court again in August for breaching the order a second time.

That offence – which involved him meeting a woman via a dating website who had no knowledge of his previous offending – took place before he was given his suspended sentence and he was punished with a three year community order on that occasion.

But Recorder Dodd said that when that sentence was passed in August, Thorpe will have already begun seeing the other woman.

She said: “You were given an opportunity on the last occasion.

“But you seem unwilling and unable to learn your lesson and accept your responsibility.”

Recorder Dodd activated Thorpe’s suspended sentence, and sent him to prison for 20 months in total.

August 2015

Sex offender flouted court order by failing to tell woman he met on dating website about criminal history

A sex offender who flouted a court order meant to protect the public must undergo a treatment programme as he tries to put his past behind him.

A woman who met Craig Thorpe via a dating website did not know of his criminal history until a press report of one of his court cases.

Judge Tony Briggs said: “On one view it shows the value of press reports. Other potentially dangerous relationships are revealed.”

Thorpe, 25, was banned from having unsupervised contact with children under an indefinite sexual offences prevention order (SOPO).

The order was imposed on his conviction and two-and-a-half-year custodial sentence for four sexual assaults on a child in 2009.

He was given a suspended one-year prison sentence for breaching the order and failing to comply with sex offenders’ register requirements in June this year.

The factory worker failed to tell a woman about his conviction, stayed at her home and had contact with her children without telling police of his movements.

When that case was reported, another woman came forward to police.

She told how Thorpe visited her as she babysat two very young children and he briefly held a baby.

Two days later he met her and her friends at a restaurant where he held a one-year-old child’s hand.

There was no improper behaviour but he still fell foul of the law because of the ban from having contact with children.

Thorpe, of Downe Street, Liverton, admitted the latest two breaches of the SOPO from May, before he received his last sentence.

Graham Brown, defending, said: “He is anxious to put his history behind him.

“He is anxious to ensure that those who have concerns don’t have concerns.”

He said both breaches of the order were “at the very very lowest end of such matters”, Thorpe was not alone with the children and there was no suggestion he had an interest in them.

He said Thorpe would take full part in a sex offender treatment programme.

June 2015

Sex offender lied to woman about previous conviction

A SEX offender who kept his conviction hidden from a woman whose house he slept at has been given a suspended jail sentence.

Craig Thorpe slept over at the woman’s house four times without alerting police to his movements, Teesside Crown Court heard.

He was also in contact with her children on a number of occasions.

Thorpe, 24, who was locked up for two and-a-half years in 2009 after being convicted of four counts of sexual assault on a child, admitted four charges of failing to comply with his notification requirements.

Thorpe and another man knew the girls were aged 12 to 13, and also contacted them via an internet messenger program. Both confessed what they had done to police and said they knew it was wrong.

He also pleaded guilty to two breaches of a sexual offences prevention order (sopo) he is subject to which bars him from having contact with children, unless he is supervised by an approved adult from a local authority.

Amy Dixon, for Thorpe, said he had wanted to give his relationship with the woman a chance before he revealed his previous conviction.

She said: “He accepts he did not inform her and he did spend some time at her address.”

Thorpe, of Downes Street, Liverton, east Cleveland, said he had never been left alone with the woman’s children nor did he have any sexual interest in them.

Ms Dixon said that while a custodial sentence was inevitable, it could be suspended on the food processing worker.

She said: “There are some deficits in his thinking skills and a suspended sentence order would allow him to address those issues with the probation service.”

Recorder Simon Phillips said Thorpe had deliberately tried to evade detection and he posed an ongoing risk to young children

However he decided he could suspend a jail sentence on him. Thorpe was given a 12 month jail sentence suspended for 18 months, a 12 month supervision order and the sopo was allowed to continue.

May 2009

Housemates locked up for sex assaults

TWO housemates abused two underage schoolgirls under the same roof on Teesside.

Craig Thorpe, 18, and Christopher Freer, 25, touched two of the young girls who visited their home, Teesside Crown Court heard.

Now the convicted child sex offenders are each starting a two-and-a-half year sentence behind bars.

Judge Peter Armstrong told Thorpe: “Visiting that house were young girls who were abused.

“Prison sentences are appropriate, not just to deter you and others who might be like-minded to commit offences of this nature but to protect girls from themselves.

“They are flattered by the attentions of older boys and young men. They were not at fault at all.

“They’re simply too young to cope with this sort of behaviour. It is young men like you who overstep the line who are to blame.”

Rumours spread about goings-on in the unusual household last year.

Thorpe lived there with his older girlfriend, her ex Freer and her three children – said to be fathered by Freer. Prosecutor Harry Hadfield said two girls told their families they had been sexually touched – one repeatedly by Thorpe, the other once by Freer.

The girls, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said they were scared to ask the men to stop.

The complaint by Thorpe’s distressed victim sparked a police investigation.

Thorpe asked her to expose herself on a webcam and suggested sex acts to her.

The men knew the girls were aged 12 to 13, and also contacted them via an internet messenger program.

Both confessed what they had done to police and said they knew it was wrong.

Thorpe, later of Davison Street, Lingdale, admitted two sexual assault charges and two of sexual activity with a child. Freer, later of Selbourne Street, Middlesbrough, admitted one count of sexual activity with a child. Neither had previous convictions.

Katherine Dunn, defending Thorpe, said he bitterly regretted and understood the impact of his actions: “He just wishes he could turn the clock back.”

She said he was so embarrassed he only admitted his crimes to his mother on the day of sentence. She stood by him in court.

Miss Dunn said Thorpe was very immature, had below-average intelligence and had technically been the victim of sexual abuse himself, starting his first sexual relationship with his older girlfriend when he was 15.

She said as soon as the older Freer moved in, Thorpe noticed “quite a lot of young girls came round to visit”.

She said Thorpe saw Freer kissing, cuddling and, he believed, in a relationship with the other girl, and began to see it as normal.

Stephen Constantine, for Freer, said he showed remorse, shame and embarrassment for a single momentary lapse which was not repeated and happened at a low point in his life.

He said Freer took steps to make sure it would never happen again, taking a course and counselling.

Both men were given indefinite sexual offences prevention orders, banned from working with children and will be registered as sex offenders.