November 2020

‘High risk’ paedophile who attempted to lure a child into sex and set up social media aliases is spared jail

A ‘high risk’ paedophile who attempted to lure a child into sex before setting up social media accounts with aliases was spared jail.

Rory Harper, 29, found himself in breach of the three-year community order he was handed at Portsmouth Crown Court on February 21 last year after attempting sexual contact with a child and possessing indecent images of children.

Following that sentence Harper became a registered sex offender and had to comply with a Sexual Harm Prevention Order.

But police discovered the defendant had failed to disclose pseudonyms for his social media accounts on January 23 and did not tell the authority he had changed his Gosport address after he was living away from the location when officers turned up unannounced on May 10.

‘He was staying at an alternative address for 10 weeks and should have notified the police of his new address,’ prosecutor Leigh Hart told the court.

The defendant also had a number of social media accounts which he had not declared to the police and and had a new phone after disposing of his old one without telling police – putting him in breach.’

Ms Hart said it was a ‘very serious breach’ and meant police were unable to monitor his internet history.

The prosecutor told the court Harper was subject to his order notification requirements and had to sign the Sex Offenders Register until 2026.

Harper pleaded guilty to two counts of failing to comply with the requirements of the sex register and a single charge of breaching his Sexual Harm Prevention Order.

A probation officer told the court Harper was a ‘high risk of harm’ who was being ‘monitored at a high level’ but had ‘complied well’ overall with it ‘regretful’ he had committed further offences.

Harper, though, was told he would not be jailed for the offences but was warned of his behaviour.

Recorder James Waddington QC told Harper: ‘I’m not going to send you to prison but you couldn’t blame me if I did – it would be within my powers.’

The recorder went on to say Harper was someone who ‘generally had complied’ with authorities.

‘I have to decide what is best and I think it is best for your community for you to continue with your community disposal,’ he said.

‘But any breach is overwhelmingly likely to mean you will lose your liberty and be sent to custody.’

Harper, now of Robert Cecil Avenue, Southampton, was instead told to complete 150 hours of unpaid work during his 12-month community order, as well as paying costs of £500 and being told to complete 20 rehabilitation days.