January 2021

Sex offender breached court order by playing Facebook game

A convicted sex offender breached his sexual harm prevention order by playing Facebook games, a court heard.

Then while on bail for flouting the court order, David Lawrence spent almost £2,500 on a neighbour’s credit card. The female neighbour had given him the card to buy food for her cat, which he was looking after while she was in hospital.

Following representations from Lawrence’s lawyers and noting the 49-year-old had significant learning disabilities, Judge Jason Taylor QC imposed a hospital order under section 37 of the Mental Health Act.

Lawrence had been handed a sexual harm prevention order in 2018 after he admitted chatting online to a “child”. His ex-partner turned paedophile hunter and posed as a 15-year-old girl. He sent her intimate images and suggested they meet.

He breached that order – designed to limit his access to the internet – within a year-and-a-half of it being imposed.

Prosecutor Ehsanul Oarith told Swindon Crown Court that the defendant had set up a Facebook account in his own name and played a game on the social media network between November 2019 and March 2020.

Between November 5 and 10, 2019, he’d been in possession of a tablet computer without telling his supervising police officer. The officer discovered the device beneath Lawrence’s pillow.

Mr Oarith said police had made an unannounced visit in September 2019 and found two days’ worth of internet history had been deleted from his Nokia mobile phone – again, something he was prohibited from doing under the terms of his sexual harm prevention order.

While on bail for the breaches, a neighbour had given Lawrence her credit card so he could buy food for her cat. He had been asked to feed the cat by the woman while she was in hospital.

Between September 25 and November 4, 2020, he was found to have made unauthorised payments totalling £2,441.95. They included attempts to contact escorts.

Lawrence, of Thornford Drive, Westlea, admitted three counts of breaching his sexual harm prevention order and a charge of fraud by false representation.

Judge Taylor imposed the hospital order and thanked Mr Ross for his help in finding the hospital place. He called the case an unusual one, adding that the order would serve to protect the public while addressing Lawrence’s vulnerabilities.

September 2020

Sex offender breached court order by playing Facebook games

A convicted sex offender will face a crown court judge next month – for playing a game on Facebook.

David Lawrence, 48, was spared jail in 2018 after his ex turned paedophile hunter and posed as a 15-year-old girl.

He sent her intimate images and suggested they meet. A judge gave him a 14 month suspended jail sentence and ordered he abide by a 10 year sexual harm prevention order.

Two years after that court hearing, he was back in front of the courts for breaching his order.

Lawrence, of Thornford Drive, Westlea, admitted three counts of breaching the sexual harm prevention order. He had deleted his internet history, played a game on Facebook and was in possession of a computer without first telling police.

He was bailed for the sentencing hearing at Swindon Crown Court on October 2. Chairman of the bench Andrew Brown ordered a pre-sentence report.

Kate Prince appeared for the Crown Prosecution Service. Lawrence was represented by Gordon Hotson.

June 2018

Paedophile snared by his ex-girlfriend

A man whose former partner turned paedophile hunter to catch him arranging to meet children for sex has been spared jail.

David Lawrence thought he was talking to a 15-year-old girl over Facebook when he said he would get a room at a bed and breakfast to meet up with her.

And the 46-year-old also suggested the youngster could bring her little sister and brother, aged 11 and six, for the illicit meeting.

But after hearing Lawrence is extremely suggestible and operates at the mental age of an eight- or nine-year-old, a judge imposed a suspended sentence.

Tessa Hingston, prosecuting, told Swindon Crown Court how the defendant received a friend request from a child called ‘Lauren’ in February this year.

Quite quickly, she said, the talk between them turned sexual and, despite him being told the user’s age, he asked if she wanted to go on to a web cam to see him naked.

Despite her saying she had not seen anything like that as she was only 15 he then asked to see her undressed and then sent her photographs of his exposed body.

He also sent her videos of him performing an intimate act, she said, and made no attempt to hide his face in the images.

In some of the chat logs Lauren said she had a sister aged 11 and a brother, six, and he talked about wanting to involve them in sexual acts too.

Miss Hingston said he talked about coming to meet them, and was told they lived in Newport.

And on the eve of Valentine’s Day he went to the train station to get a quote for a trip to the Welsh town for the following week.

When he was questioned he gave a full account of what he had done and knew it was wrong, saying people who are attracted to children are ‘disgusting, nasty and wrong’.

Lawrence, of Thornford Drive, Westlea, pleaded guilty to attempting to cause a child to engage in and watch sexual activity and attempting to meet a child after grooming.

Passing sentence Judge Jason Taylor QC said “All these offences were committed over a three-day period in February.

“You had previously been in a relationship. When that broke down your former partner, believing you had and interest in children, set up a Facebook account with her new partner. Within minutes that conversation became sexual.

“There is no doubt that you are suggestible.

“You pose a medium risk of harm to children: that will be reduced if your underpinning thoughts and attitudes are addressed.”

He imposed a 14-month jail term, suspended for two years, with 30 days of rehabilitation activity requirement.

He also told Lawrence to register as a sex offender for 10 years and abide by a sexual harm prevention order.