January 2011

Pervert jailed for indecency to schoolgirls freed on appeal

A SEX offender caught in a police operation intended to stop a spate of assaults on schoolgirls in Enfield, Barnet and Haringey, has been freed on appeal by top judges.

Andrew John Moore, 48, of Albury Ride, Cheshunt, Herts, was caught masturbating at a bus stop by a young WPC disguised in a school uniform, on February 4 last year.

Moore, who also had child sexual abuse on his computer and had an unhealthy interest in pre-teen girls, was arrested and handed a sentence of imprisonment for public protection (IPP) – an indefinite jail term almost identical to a life sentence – at Wood Green Crown Court on May 13 last year.

He had pleaded guilty to attempting to engage in sexual activity in the presence of a child and 18 counts of making an indecent photograph of a child. He was ordered to serve a minimum of two and a half years behind bars before he could even apply for parole.

Lord Justice Pill, Mr Justice Owen and Judge Andrew Patience QC, sitting at London’s Criminal Appeal Court, quashed the open-ended sentence and replaced it with a conventional 20-month jail term, allowing him to walk free, his sentence served.

Saying that the indefinite sentence imposed on Moore at the Crown Court was “manifestly excessive and wholly out of line with the sentencing guidelines,” Mr Justice Owen admitted that Moore represented a “danger to the public.”

He said: “We consider that it was not open to the judge to impose an IPP sentence or an extended sentence.

“We are driven to the conclusion that, notwithstanding the danger this appellant represents, we must set aside the sentence of IPP and, in its place, we impose a sentence of 20 months imprisonment.”

Mr Justice Owen decided the IPP sentence was too harsh because Moore had not touched the police officer and the incident had lasted “a matter of seconds.”

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