November 2016

He became a sex offender aged 12 – now he’s been jailed

A man who became a sex offender at the age of 12 has been jailed for failing to tell the police he had changed address.

George Harding, aged 21, was locked up for six months for breaching the terms of a court order imposed to allow officers to keep an eye on him.

He had been given a suspended prison sentence for child sex offences committed between the ages of 12 and 17, Plymouth Crown Court heard.

Harding spent nine months “sofa-surfing” away from his father’s home where he was registered, Plymouth Crown Court heard.

Judge Ian Lawrie told him: “I accept you have buried your head in the sand, but whatever the chaos in your particular life, ultimately this order has to be respected.”

Harding, of Exeter Prison, pleaded guilty to breaching the requirements of his sex offender registration between January and October.

He was convicted of serious sexual offences in November last year and handed a suspended prison sentence.

The court heard that he had already breached that order and been sent to jail until April next year.

The new sentence, of which he should serve half, will not add to the time he spends behind bars.

William Parkhill, for the Crown Prosecution Service, said he had left his registered address in January and could not be found when police came looking for him in July.

He must tell officers every time he changes his address.

Officers caught up with him three months later in October, the court heard.

Mike Brown, for Harding, said he had lived a “chaotic lifestyle” and “buried his head in the sand”.

He added he was making good use of his time in prison.