Februry 2021

County Durham child sex offender jailed for a further 11 years

A convicted child sex offender has been jailed for a further 11 years.

Stuart Haslam, 39, was found guilty by a jury of assault by penetration, causing a child to watch a sex act and causing or inciting a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity.

Haslam, formerly of Commercial Street Brandon, County Durham, was locked up for 13-and-a-half years in 2015 after he admitted raping a boy and 10 charges of making, and three of distributing, indecent images of children.

He received a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for the offences, but reappeared at Durham Crown Court when further allegations came to light in 2018.

A court heard he is a man with feelings of sexual entitlement and a out of control sexual urges.

Sentencing Haslam to 11 years with an extended licence of three years, Judge Recorder John Aitken said he was now seen as an “even greater risk to children”.

Judge Recorder Aitken said: “Pre-trial, the prosecution may have been prepared to accept a lesser plea, but you fought the case and lost and now face sentencing again for a serious offence.”

In a victim impact statement read out in court, the victim said suffering the abuse has severely affected their mental and physical health.

The statement read: “By pleading not guilty Stuart has dragged me through a trial which, along with the lengthy police investigation, has left me feeling exhausted both mentally and physically. I constantly battled with the thought of not being believed.

“On Tuesday 12 January, I stood in court with only a curtain separating me from Stuart and was able to stand strong, knowing that I was finally standing up to Stuart.

“I was petrified and felt sick to my stomach but I knew I had to do it. When I heard the news that the member’s of the jury had found him guilty, I felt that I was believed at last.”

The court heard how the victim has suffered from anxiety and depression since the attack.

The statement added: “What happened to me as a child has affected me in almost every aspect of my life.

“When I think about what happened to me I feel dirty. I rarely look at my body and constantly want to cover it up. I wash to get the dirty feeling off me.

“When I’m out of the house I’m in constant fear.

“The jury finding him guilty was what I needed to allow to start trying to build a new life, which has been affected in so many ways.

“He took advantage of me when I was most vulnerable.”

December 2015

Man branded danger to boys given extended prison sentence

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A MAN branded a sexual danger to boys has received an extended prison sentence, for the protection of the public.

Stuart Francis Haslam was given a 13-and-a-half year sentence on Tuesday with an extended licence period of five years by Judge Simon Hickey, at Durham Crown Court.

It follows Haslam’s guilty plea to a charge of the rape of a boy shortly, before the scheduled trial in the case, at which the victim would, otherwise, have had to give evidence, at the court last month.

Thirty-four-year-old Haslam also admitted ten charges of making, and three of distributing, indecent images of children.

The court heard this follows the recovery of about 26,000 such images, many in the most graphic bracket, on various computer equipment seized by police from Haslam’s flat, in Commercial Street, Brandon, near Durham, following his arrest for the alleged rape, in March.

Michael Tanney, prosecuting, said due to resource restrictions, only 4,380, mostly stills, but some moving images, underwent analysis, revealing 1,461 classed as in Category A, the most serious form of child abuse material.

It was discovered that some of the images were shared with other users of a chatline in which Haslam “boasted” of having sex with very young boys.

Mr Tanney said this may have been in, “the realms of fantasy”, to like-minded individuals, but he added that it appeared the defendant was almost “coaching” those he was in correspondence with, how to abuse children without being detected.

The court heard one image may have featured Haslam engaging in a paedophile act, but Mr Tanney said he was, at least, considered to have been, “very close to the source of their production”.

When arrested he denied any sexual contact with children, and even maintained he had no sexual interest in boys.

The court heard he has no relevant similar offences among his previous convictions.

Dan Cordey, mitigating, said even though the defendant left it late to make his admissions, it did result in his victim being spared from having to give evidence.

Mr Cordey said none of the images that Haslam was thought to have been involved in the production of, was shared by him, and appeared to have been previously deleted.

But Mr Cordey added that unlike many such offenders, the defendant has begun to acknowledge he has a problem which needs addressing.

Jailing him, Judge Hickey also made Haslam subject to lifelong prohibitions, under the terms of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order, and unlimited registration as a sex offender.

The effect of the indeterminate prison sentence means Haslam will spend at least nine years behind bars before being able to be considered for release by the Parole Board, and may spend the entire 13-and-a-half years in custody, before being subject to five further years scrutiny, on licence.