Ipswich: Mentally-ill man who touched schoolgirls in Crown Pools avoids prison sentence

IPSWICH: A mentally-ill man who touched four schoolgirls on their legs and bottoms at Crown Pools has walked free from court after a judge decided that although his behaviour was “extremely unpleasant” it didn’t merit a prison sentence.

John Marczell, 25, of Old Norwich Road, Ipswich, was initially accused of four offences of sexual assault on the girls who were all aged under 13. However, these charges were not proceeded with after he admitted a single offence of causing a public nuisance between April 27 and May 10, 2009 by intentionally swimming in a way that brought him into physical contact with the girls who he touched inappropriately.

The four offences of sexual assault were left on the court file.

Marczell was placed under the supervision of a probation officer for two years and made the subject of a mental health requirement under which he has to comply with treatment directed by his doctor.

He was also made the subject of an Anti Social Behaviour Order (Asbo) for the next five years, which bans him from going to a swimming pool or beach or other place where he was likely to come within 50m of any female aged under 16 while she is bathing. He was also ordered to pay �670 prosecution costs.

Judge David Goodin, said the defendant was suffering from a mental illness at the time and although what he had done was “extremely unpleasant” it did not cross the custody threshold. He said that Marczell’s sentence was in no way intended to “underestimate or understate the very unpleasant and alarming experience” suffered by the girls and he warned the defendant that if he failed to comply with the court orders he could be brought back to court and the question of custody could be revisited.

Clare Hennessey, prosecuting, said that on April 25 and May 10, 2009, Marczell had been at Crown Pools and when the wave machine had been switched on he had been swimming near the girls and had briefly touched them on their legs and bottoms.

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The court heard that in March 2007 Marczell had received a police caution for putting a camera under women’s skirts on a shop escalator.

Hugh Vass for Marczell said a psychiatrist had formed the view that his client was not sexually motivated when he touched the girls.

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