February 2019

Sex offender jailed over tablet computer hidden in wash house

A sex offender has been jailed for more than two years after he was caught with a tablet computer hidden in a wash house.

Ronald Harcourt, 56, has served long prison sentences for molesting three young girls and distributing sickening images of child abuse.

He was jailed in five years in 2006 for indecent assaults after police spent three hours talking him out of killing himself.

“Please don’t tell anyone,” he had told one of the underage girls. He went on the sex offenders’ register for life.

He was given an extended 10-year sentence in 2014 after it was revealed he was part of a worldwide ring exchanging child abuse images .

He was in touch with other paedophiles, both men and women, and had a collection of almost 4,000 images on his phone.

The Child Exploitation and Online Protection command (CEOP) found he had been distributing child abuse images in 2012 to 2013.

Cleveland Police officers raided his home and discovered his phone hidden in an airing cupboard, Teesside Crown Court heard.

He had exchanged images 700 times and received over 3,800 indecent images of children and distributed them in the UK and worldwide, including hundreds at the most serious level.

He also had six email accounts, in breach of a sexual offences prevention order (SOPO).

For those crimes he was jailed for four years, with an extended six-year licence period, and given another indefinite sexual harm prevention order (SHPO).

Harcourt was back in the dock in January this year for flouting the SHPO by deleting internet searches .

Judge Sean Morris gave him a chance with a suspended prison sentence, saying: “The overwhelming weight of evidence here is that you are complying.”

Yet within a month Harcourt, of Linthorpe Road, Middlesbrough , was in trouble again.

He became aggressive when police went to see him and said they would search his home on January 29.

He was asked three times whether he had anything and said no before finally confessing he had a tablet computer.

Officers found the device hidden in a spice rack in the wash house and seized it, said prosecutor Harry Hadfield this week.

He admitted breaching the SHPO and the suspended jail term.

This time Harcourt – appearing in court via video link to Holme House Prison in Stockton – was jailed for two years and one month.

January 2019

Sex offender in court for deleting Google searches in face of court order

A convicted paedophile who was once branded a danger and given an extended sentence for public protection has been back in court.

But this time, Ronald Harcourt was in the dock for deleting his Google searches and text messages to his girlfriend.

Harcourt, 56, was initially challenged over his relationship with the woman, but it emerged that he had been honest about his past with her.

There were concerns because she was a grandmother, and Harcourt was banned from unsupervised contact with children under a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO).

He had no contact with the woman’s adult children or her grandchildren, though he offered to help in buying a present for the grandchildren, Teesside Crown Court heard.

Harcourt admitted breaching the SHPO, which he was given in 2014 with an extended ten-year sentence for making and distributing child abuse images and encouraging other perverts to do the same.

Judge Sean Morris was told how Harcourt turned up at the police station with his female partner and they were “very open and honest” about the relationship with his offender manager.

Judge Morris told Harcourt: “Sexual Harm Prevention Orders are there to be obeyed.

“You’re not here for having a relationship with a female. You’re here because you had deleted some Google searches from your phone.

“And you’re not allowed to do that. It’s as simple as that. And you need to know that carries a prison sentence.”

Harcourt,of Linthorpe Road, Middlesbrough, was given a one-year prison sentence suspended for 18 months with 20 days’ rehabilitation activity.

August 2014

Convicted Middlesbrough sex offender part of worldwide child abuse images ring

A convicted sex offender who was part of a worldwide web exchanging child abuse images and inciting offences against children has been given an extended sentence of 10 years.

Ronald Harcourt, 53, from Middlesbrough, was in touch on the internet with other paedophiles both men and women and had a sickening collection of almost 4,000 images and videos on his mobile phone, including one of a one-year-old.

Harcourt was on prison licence after being jailed for four years in 2006 for indecent assaults on two girls under 14.

The judge at Teesside Crown Court said that he was a danger to the public.

Prosecutor Harry Hadfield said that Harcourt had six identifiable email accounts in breach of an earlier Sexual Offence’s Prevention Order.

He was identified by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Agency CEOPS who found that he had been distributing child pornography between February 2012 and March last year, and they notified Cleveland Police.

Officers raided his home and they recovered his mobile phone which he had hidden in an airing cupboard which he had kept from his male partner.

He had exchanged images 700 times and received over 3,800 indecent images of children and distributed them in the UK and worldwide, including hundreds at the most serious level.

Yvonne Taylor, defending, said that Harcourt was desperate to receive help and he felt remorse.

Judge Peter Armstrong told Harcourt that the images which he was distributing and receiving were appalling.

Harcourt, of Cambridge Sqauare, Middlesbrough, was given an extended sentence of 10 years. He will serve four years in custody and six years on licence.

He was also given an indefinite Sexual Offence’s Prevention Order banning him from having any device capable of accessing the internet, unsupervised contact with any child under 16, and ordered to register as a Sex Offender for life.

He pleaded guilty to six offences of inciting indecent photographs of children, six of distributing, one of making indecent images of children, and one of failing to notify a change of name used in email addresses.

June 2014

Registered sex offender admits distributing child abuse images

A sex offender is in prison awaiting his fate after he pleaded guilty to distributing images of child abuse.

Ronald Stewart Harcourt was already a registered sex offender when he distributed child abuse images and encouraged others to do the same.

The 51-year-old admitted a total of 14 charges at Teesside Crown Court today.

Harcourt has been assessed as a dangerous offender, the court was told.

He pleaded guilty to six specimen charges of distributing indecent images of children using an email identity.

The defendant also admitted six specimen charges of encouraging or assisting an offence, the distribution of such photographs.

He admitted one charge of making indecent photographs of children.

All 13 of these crimes were committed between October 2012 and February 2013.

In addition, he pleaded guilty to one charge of failing to comply with requirements as a sex offender between October 2009 and September 2012.

He failed to tell the police that he’d opened a bank account and created four email accounts over the three-year period.

Harcourt, formerly of Linthorpe, Middlesbrough, now of no fixed address, created one of the accounts in 2009, the rest in 2012.

The full facts of Harcourt’s offending have not yet been outlined in court.

Yvonne Taylor, defending, said a probation officer concluded Harcourt was a “high risk of causing harm to children”.

She asked for the case to be adjourned for a expert’s medical report to be prepared.

She said this might help decide on the issue of whether Harcourt was a dangerous offender.

Judge George Moorhouse remanded Harcourt in custody until sentencing on August 1.

He told the defendant: “In the meantime please cooperate with he medical advisor who’s going to carry out an examination.”

April 2006

Police spent three hours talking a paedophile out of killing himself, months before he was jailed for five years yesterday.

They walked into the drama when they arrived to arrest Ronald Harcourt, 43, for sexually molesting three little girls, said prosecutor Katharine Dunn.

Harcourt grabbed a knife and tried to push it into his stomach, and it took them three hours to persuade him to put it down.

Earlier he had begged one of the children: “Please don’t tell anyone, I want to see my grandkids grow up.”

But the police investigation revealed his repeated assaults, Teesside Crown Court was told.

One nine-year-old pleaded with him “Please Ronnie, don’t” before she escaped and locked herself in another room, said Miss Dunn.

Paul Newcombe, defending, said that Harcourt’s partner who had a seven-year-old daughter was standing by him and he intended to live with them again when he was released.

Judge Peter Bowers warned the family court could step in to protect the girl by ordering him to leave or for her to go into care.

Mr Newcombe said some of Harcourt’s own children had already rejected him after he admitted what he had done.

A pre-sentence report said that he would benefit from a sex offender programme.

Mr Newcombe said: “He is truly sorry and ashamed of what he has done and is looking to the future. I don’t denigrate the suffering of the victims in any way.”

The judge told Harcourt: “You have some insight into the fact that you have done wrong, but limited insight into the damage you have caused these girls.”

Harcourt, of Cross Street, Norton, was jailed for five years with four years extended licence on his release, ordered to register as a sex offender for life, and banned for ten years from having contact with youngsters under 18 without an appropriate adult, including telephone and text contact.

He admitted three charges of indecent assault and one of indecency with a child.