May 2018: Now living in Pool near Camborne and Redruth

March 2016

Paignton sex offender who would ‘find any means’ to find indecent images of children escapes jail

Richard Cassidy

A REGISTERED sex offender from Paignton who would ‘find any means’ to get hold of indecent images of children has walked free from court.

Richard Cassidy, 52, was described as having a long history of sexual offending, when he appeared at Exeter Crown Court.

He admitted seven offences of making and possessing indecent images of children.

But he walked away with a three month community order after the court was told the offences should have been dealt with at an earlier sentence and Cassidy had effectively served time for them.

The judge said the public would be better protected if Cassidy was sent on the tough Thames Valley Sex Offenders Programme. The court was told Cassidy had been on the course before but should do it again.

Prosecutor James Taghdissian said: “This defendant will find any means of trying to find any images of children’.

Cassidy, the court heard, had previously been jailed for two years for breaching the terms of his Sexual Offences Prevention Order. Police found the images on his computer.

Paul Dentith, mitigating, said Cassidy, from Paignton, could have been dealt with at the time he was sentenced for breaching the sex order.

Recorder Philip Mott QC said: “Clearly quite a lot of work still needs to be done to make you safe from prison sentences and more importantly safe from young girls.

“You are a bit like an addict or alcoholic. You just can’t dip into it and try and stop yourself, it has to be total abstinence I’m afraid.

“Today is not the day to lock you up on the grounds of dangerousness because you have served a sentence on the last breach of the SOPO imposed in February last year and you’re now released on licence. That will cover you for another year.

“It seems to me a more constructive option is available of making a community order as long as you agree to take part in the Thames Valley Sex Offenders Programme.”

February 2015

Convicted child molester jailed for befriending families who he met at church so he could gain access to their children

A sex offender has been jailed for befriending families who he met at church so he could gain access to their children.

Richard Cassidy offered a job and loaned money to one family and was so successful in winning their trust that they invited him to Christmas dinner.

He did not tell them anything about his past as a convicted child molester who has been to jail before for using the church as a way to meet and groom families.

He joined the Mount Olive Ministries in Coffinswell, Newton Abbot, and posed as a lonely man in search of support.

He also ran his own building business in South Devon and offered work to one of his fellow worshippers, who he also lent money to.

He spent Christmas Day with the family. He carried their children on his shoulders and at one stage was left alone with them as the parents were busy cooking in the kitchen.

Cassidy has a history of lying about his past so he can gain access to children. He was originally jailed in 1985 for abusing children

He was jailed again in Nottingham in the 1990s for abusing a girl after meeting her family at church.

He worked at a holiday park in Dorset where he offered a home to a single parent and then took indecent photographs of their six year-old daughter.

In 2009 he was jailed in Truro after being spotted talking to children in a rock pool at a beach and it was found he had also been grooming families who he met at a Methodist church.

His pattern of grooming was so marked that he was made subject of a Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO) which required him to tell police public protection teams as soon as he joined a congregation.

He was also banned from unsupervised contact with any child and with lending money or offering a home to any parent, because he had used both these methods to befriend families in the past.

Cassidy, aged 51, of Old Torquay Road, Paignton, who has also used the surname Salisbury, admitted five offences of breaching a Sexual Offence Prevention Order and was jailed for two years by Judge Phillip Wassall at Exeter Crown Court.

The Judge told him:”This was grooming behaviour, not only of children but families. Once again you joined a church and began to befriend families within the church with young children.

“You loaned them money, as you have done in the past, lending a total of £670 in four different advances altogether.

“You groomed families so you could gain access to children. Whatever your motive, the issue is the risk you posed. You drove right through the heart of the order.

“It was a direct breach of the order. You were doing precisely what you were ordered not to do in a way which put the public at risk.

“You were left unsupervised with the children when the parents closed the kitchen door. They were completely unaware you were a convicted sex offender.

“The gravity of this offence is the grooming of a family who unsuspectingly put their children at risk from a known sex offender. That risk is too high and is unacceptable.

“Anyone who breaches an order with grooming behaviour in a persistent way must be met with severe punishment so the public can have confidence in them.”

Mr David Bowen, prosecuting, said Cassidy was subject to a specially adapted SOPO which had been modified to reflect the methods he used in previous offending.

It included a prohibition against lending money to any parent of a young family and a requirement to dell police the name and address of any church he attended more than twice.

He said he had offered loans in December and January to the family and been left alone with their two children briefly after being invited to their home.

Mr Paul Dentith, defending, said the father of the family had approached him and asked him for work as a builder and purpose of offering loans was help them out by advancing wages.

He said there was no prohibition on him visiting the family but he found himself in breach of the order when left alone and unsupervised with the children when the parents closed the kitchen door to prevent cooking smells filling the house.

He said the children had been interviewed by police and there was no suggestion that Cassidy had tried to do anything inappropriate.