May 2018

Man convicted of sex offences breaches protection order when seen with teenage girls

A man convicted of sexual offences was back before the courts when he was caught in the company of two teenage girls.

John Phelps, aged 65, and of Great George Street, Weymouth, admitted at Weymouth Magistrates Court to breaching an order which banned him from being in the company of females under 18.

Phelps, a former bodybuilder, was found guilty of rape, 13 indecent assaults and three crimes of gross indecency at Bournemouth Crown Court in 2008. One of his victims was just four-years-old when the abuse began.

Subsequently, Phelps was jailed and banned from working with children indefinitely and from being in the company of any female under the age of 18.

Weymouth Magistrates Court heard on December 19, 2017 Phelps was seen in the company of two teenagers.

Lee Turner, prosecuting, said someone who knew Phelps and was aware of his past saw him talking to two girls in Wilkinsons in Weymouth.

Mr Turner added the woman’s concerns were raised when she heard the defendant ask one of the girls where she had been, what time she needed to be home and whether her mum would be annoyed if she came home late.

“Out of concern, she took a photo,” he said.

In a statement made to police, one of the girls, aged 16, said she went to the shop with her friend who began a conversation with a man who she did not know.

The girl said the man was clearly known by her friend as she asked him how he was. She said the man then talked about make-up he was going to buy his granddaughter for Christmas before saying goodbye.

She said her friend told her the man was a regular who came to her work.

Kenneth Sharpe, mitigating, said Phelps could not remember the exact nature of the conversation.

“It’s easy to take an extract of a conversation and make it look sinister. It’s a conversation overheard from a distance and I would query the accuracy of what she hears,”

Mr Sharpe said. “One of the young people hasn’t even provided a statement. She is nonplussed about it. It’s a conversation that takes place in a supermarket near to Christmas. It’s a throw away conversation out of social politeness. I don’t think it could be a less egregious breach of the order.”

A probation service officer said he had engaged and complied with the probation service ‘up until this point.’ She added Phelps had made contact with the service after the interaction to raise his concerns.

“In terms of prior concerns, there have been none. He remains in denial of the first offending and there is little more the service can do for a person who remains in denial,” the officer said.

Phelps was given an eight month jail sentence suspended for two years. He was ordered to pay £200 victim surcharge and costs.

October 2008

Pervert jailed for raping child

Former canoeist John Phelps was this morning handed a 12-year prison sentence for raping a child.

Phelps, 52, a former bodybuilder of Edwina Drive, Poole, was found guilty at Bournemouth Crown Court last month of rape, 13 indecent assaults and three crimes of gross indecency.

The court was told one of his victims was just four-years-old when the abuse began.

His brother Brian Phelps, an Olympic medal-winning diver, was sent to prison for nine months in May after being found guilty of a string of sex offences.

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