September 2017

Pervert who sexually abused six-year-old boy from his wheelchair escapes jail

A QUADRIPLEGIC who sexually abused a six-year-old boy from his wheelchair has escaped jail – because officials would not be able to “deal with his condition”, a court heard.

Andrew Blair, 71, abused the young boy in his West Sussex bungalow, when he scaled the side of his wheelchair in 2000

Portsmouth Crown Court heard that the young lad told cops he entered Blair’s property through an automatic “magic door”.

Given that he is completely paralysed, Judge Roger Hetherington said the incident is “hard to imagine… but it undoubtedly occurred”.

Paralysed, he has to steer his motorised wheelchair with his tongue, and needs constant assistance in his day-to-day life.

Judge Roger Hetherington said Sentencing Council guidelines would give him a five-year sentence, but he could not send Blair to prison.

He said: “I’m satisfied in highly exceptional circumstances that it would be contrary to the interests of justice to follow the guidelines.

“And my reasons are firstly your history, as I’ve summarised it from the psychologist report, and secondly your present circumstances which indeed are the circumstances throughout your life.

“It would be extremely difficult, if not impossible in my judgement, to deal with you in prison given your condition.”

The judge said he didn’t believe that Blair lured the youngster to move closer to him with sexual advances.

But he did confirm that there was a “significant disparity in age”.

Blair, of Fareham, Hants, suffers from congenital cerebral palsy and epilepsy, Portsmouth Crown Court, Hants, heard.

Judge Hetherington sentenced Blair, who sat in his wheelchair in the public gallery in court, to a two-year sentence suspended for two years, with 12 months of supervision.

He must also sign the sex offenders’ register for 10 years, and a sexual harm prevention order which limits his contact with children for 10 years.

Blair initially denied sexual activity with a child, but was convicted at a retrial of one charge – and cleared of 16 other counts.