June 2016

Sex offender back in court after being found with child’s sock in his home

penswick

A sex offender was found with a magazine article about a 14-year-old transgender girl, and a frilly pink girl’s sock in his home, a court has heard.

John Penswick, 57, of St George’s Quay, Lancaster, pleaded guilty to breaching a sexual offences prevention order twice.

Penswick was handed a SOPO in February 2014 after serving a jail term over a chilling harassment campaign against a Preston family and is banned from owning or possess any children’s clothing or retaining factual or fiction accounts of children.

Imposing a two-year community order with a 40-day rehabilitation activity, Judge Recorder Murray said the breaches were minor compared to other offences but added: “You have a most significant history which puts society on alert about your behaviour. You have to be watched continuously.”

Prosecuting, David Clarke said: “The defendant was arrested at home at 2am on May 8. Police were investigating another matter which he was later found not to be involved in.”

In 2002 Penswick, who used to live St Michael’s Road, Deepdale, was jailed for seven years for threats to kill and harassment.

He subjected a family in Preston to a year of terror in which he secretly pinned obscene messages to their back gate in Deepdale and put sexually explicit material through their letterbox.

In one message, Penswick said their daughter would become “the next Sarah Payne”, a reference to the girl abducted and murdered in Sussex.

When police searched this home they found an A-Z of Preston with schools marked out, and children’s underwear.

January 2016: Now living in St George’s Quay, Lancaster

October 2002

Seven years for evil stalker

A DANGEROUS paedophile with a horrific fascination for young children was today behind bars after a stalking campaign against a terrified family.

When police searched the home of evil John Penswick, they found an A-Z of Preston with schools marked out, as well as items of children’s underwear.

Penswick subjected a family in Preston to a year of terror in which he secretly pinned obscene messages to the back gate of their home in Deepdale and put sexually explicit material through their letterbox.

Preston Crown Court heard that the family’s young daughter was named in the material, with deviant messages targeting her and her mother.

Penswick, 43, of St Michael’s Road, Deepdale, was said in court to be a loner who had shown no remorse and who bore a grudge against society.

He admitted four charges of making threats to kill and three offences of harassment, and he was jailed yesterday for seven years.

Prosecutor Frasier Livsey said the parents of the young girl named in the material painted the gates where the notes were pinned on three occasions with an anti-vandal mixture.

In one threatening message, the girl was taunted by Penswick, who said that she would become “the next Sarah Payne”, a reference to the girl who was abducted and murdered in Sussex. The case sparked national outrage.

CCTV was eventually installed by the terrified family at their home.

When police arrested Penswick, Mr Livsey said a search of his premises revealed the A-Z map, “with schools highlighted in pencil”.

At first, Penswick denied the offences, but pleaded guilty after handwriting evidence was gathered.

On Penswick’s behalf, Mr Richard Bennett said he accepted that his client’s actions had brought great anxiety to his victims.

Psychiatric assessments of Penswick, an upholsterer, pointed to his desire to deliberately cause fear in others, “driven by a sense of social grievance” said Mr Bennett.

A report pointed out that the defendant was a paedophile with all the “classic symptoms of a sex offender”.

Sentencing Penswick, the recorder of Preston, Judge Peter Openshaw QC, said the case was unique.

Penswick had left “crude, depraved and vicious messages showing a disturbing degree of sexual deviance”.

The young child who received the messages and threats from Penswick was unknown to him at the time and had been shielded by her frightened parents to a certain extent.

However experts have speculated that she may be affected in the future.

Judge Openshaw said that, for the parents, the case had become “the dominant feature of their lives” for a year.

The notes on the gate could have been seen by others, which only added to the “distress and humiliation” the family suffered.

The judge said that they had since moved away from the area.

Penswick had a history of sexual deviance, the judge added, with two previous offences of indecent exposure.

“These offences show an alarming escalation in the scale of offending, not an uncommon feature in those who go on to commit the most grave sex crimes,” said the recorder.

Doctors who examined Penswick found he had a “horrific fascination” for young girls, and the judge said there was a high possibility that he would reoffend.

“There is no real sense of remorse – your attitude to the victim is one of callous indifference,” the judge told him.

Judge Openshaw sentenced Penswick to seven years for the threats to kill and four years for harassment, with the terms to run concurrently.

He said that because of the nature of the offences, he could not place Penswick on the sex offenders’ register, but Judge Openshaw added that “the most stringent licence conditions” must be placed on him when he is eventually released.

In addition, the judge ordered that his sentencing remarks be placed before the Parole Board when they come to consider the case.