Sex offender avoids custody

A REPEAT sex offender is today free to live in the community despite attacking a woman in Ipswich.

A REPEAT sex offender is today free to live in the community despite attacking a woman in Ipswich.

Charles Nicholas grabbed the 22-year-old round her neck and fondled her breasts Ipswich Crown Court heard.

The 54-year-old, formerly of Levington Court, Ipswich then kissed her neck and stuck his tongue in her ear before she ran away.

Nicholas was convicted of indecent exposure in 1972, indecent assault on a 14-year-old girl in 1974, indecent exposure in 1987, 1997 and 2004 and was made the subject of a sexual offences prevention order in 2006 to protect a young boy.

Russell Butcher, prosecuting, said Nicholas had received rehabilitation as part of a sentence but on April 15 this year he attacked the 22-year-old woman.

He said she managed to run home where “upset and crying” she telephoned her friend and then the police when Nicholas began banging on her front door and then tried to push his way in when her friend arrived. Mr Butcher said by the time a female officer took the victim's statement she was “hysterical”.

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He said the woman was now unable to go out alone and was frightened of all men who approached her.

Nicholas, who initially denied the attack, but later pleaded guilty to sexual assault, had also been convicted of theft, burglary and battery in the past.

Lindsay Cox, mitigating, said his client, of Dollis Hill, London was a former HGV driver who was now unemployed and suffering with depression and other conditions.

Mr Cox said: “He lives a solitary and lonely existence. He was involved in a road traffic accident in early September and was in hospital in Nottingham but it seems he didn't want to engage in any treatment from a psychiatrist”.

Judge David Goodin said that despite the defendant's previous convictions the sentencing guidelines did not recommend a prison sentence.

He said: “There is no good cause for me to go against the guidelines so you will be sentenced within the community to maximise the prevention of other victims going through the misery of what this woman and others had to go through.”

Nicholas was placed on three year's probation supervision and told to attend a Sex Offenders' Rehabilitation Programme.

He was ordered to remain on the Sex Offenders' Register for five years and pay £100 towards court costs.