Sex offender from Wearside keeps freedom after taking regular trips to caravan park in Scotland without telling cops

A sex offender who took "regular" trips to a caravan park in Scotland without informing the police has kept his freedom.

Tuesday, 8th June 2021, 9:37 am

John Booth was ordered to sign the sex offenders register for a decade after he was jailed for two years for a sexual offence in 2011, which meant he must keep police informed about overnight stays away from his home.

Newcastle Crown Court heard in October last year officers received information that he was working as a handyman in the Durham area.

When questioned about his work, the 58-year-old confessed he did jobs to pay for site fees for his caravan, which police knew nothing about.

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John Booth from Washington appeared before Newcastle Crown Court.
John Booth from Washington appeared before Newcastle Crown Court.

Investigations revealed Booth had kept a caravan at a site near Lockerbie between 2015 and 2019 and had booked to stay there for a total of 79 days over the four year period.

Prosecutor Anne Richardson told the court: "The whole point of registration is to ensure that the police know where he is at all times."Miss Richardson added: "He was interviewed and fully admitted breaching the terms of his notification requirements by staying at an address other than his home address for more than seven nights within a 12 month period.

"He said he was sorry and apologised for breaching his notification."

Booth, of South Avenue, Usworth, Washington, admitted failing to comply with notification requirements between May 2015 and October 2020.

John Crawford, defending, said Booth is a carer for his wife, who has health problems and uses a wheelchair and he would take her and his mother-in-law to the caravan.

Mr Crawford said the women would sometimes stay there alone, while Booth returned home, to give himself a break from his responsibilities.

The court heard Booth's requirement to sign the sex offender's register has now lapsed and his likelihood of further offending and risk he poses are "low".

Mr Crawford added: "It wasn't a deliberate attempt to avoid the requirements of the registration regime."

Judge Sarah Mallett sentenced Booth to a community order for 12 months with rehabilitation requirements and a £200 fine.

Judge Mallett told him: "The caravan was at the caravan park from 2015 until 2019 and during that time you were, in reality, a relatively regular visitor.

"You were therefore in breach of the requirement that you notify the police if you stay at an address other that your home address for more than seven nights in a 12 month period."

But the judge added: "There is no evidence anyone was, in fact, placed in immediate risk or particularly in harms way and you complied with the requirements except in this regard."

Judge Mallett said the prison sentence and subsequent probation work had the "desired affect" on Booth.

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