Serial sex fiend is behind bars after clocking up his 301st conviction

Gordon Catchpole
Gordon Catchpole

A serial sex fiend has been put behind bars after clocking up his 301st criminal conviction.

Gordon Catchpole, who started his criminal career in the 1950s, groped a woman in Sunderland after offering to pay her for sex.

Newastle Crown Court heard his horrified victim had suffered sex abuse it the past and said her ordeal in September brought unwanted memories flooding back.

She told police: "I am terrified since the incident.

"It has brought back a lot of memories. I feel vulnerable due to the previous experience of sexual assault.

"I have been exposed to sexual abuse it the past."

The court heard Catchpole, formerly from South Shields, had been living at a hostel after his last suspended prison sentence for breaching a sexual offences prevention order.

The 77-year-old attacked the woman after asking her if they could have a word in private.

Prosecutor Neil Pallister said: "He said to her 'I think you are lovely. I could pay you for sex, bring knickers and suspenders to my room'."

Mr Pallister said Catchpole then pounced on the woman and groped her again a few minutes later.

The court heard Catchpole has convictions for sexual offences dating back to 1964 and has served prison sentences for crimes including exposure and indecent assaults.

His criminal background includes violence and assaults.

Catchpole, of no fixed address, admitted two charges of sexual assault in relation to the hostel attack and breach of his previous suspended sentence.

Judge Paul Sloan sentenced him to a total of two years and ten months.

The judge told Catchpole: "She was terrified by the experience and it brought back many unpleasant memories of having been assaulted in the past.

"Your actions exacerbated her feelings of vulnerability.

"You have a long history of offending.

"The offences form part of a significant pattern of like offending."

Shaun Routledge, defending, said it may be "late in the day", but Catchpole has started to co-operate with his offending manager.

Mr Routledge told the court: "Alcohol, that is the problem."

Catchpole is already banned from afternoon travel on public transport in a bid to keep him away from schoolchildren.