December 2018

Pervert sent ‘unsavoury’ pictures to teenager months after being released from jail for grooming her

A pervert who stalked the girl he tried to groom online has started a long prison sentence as Teesside’s top judge branded him a public danger.

John Freer, 39, went to jail again still denying a sexual interest in young girls.

He was locked up for eight months last year for trying to groom an underage girl and incite her into sexual activity.

He used Instagram to send her sexual messages and ask for sex acts, Teesside Crown Court heard.

He was released from his sentence in November last year – but he went looking for the same girl on Instagram again.

He used four fake aliases with the name John Andrew and a picture of the Hulk as he followed her on the social media platform.

She did not realise his identity as he liked and commented on her pictures, said prosecutor Harry Hadfield.

He asked to be her friend on Facebook, which she ignored.

The police used covert methods to uncover his offending in June to July this year.

The girl told her mother after she recognised Freer from an “unsavoury” picture he sent her of himself holding a breast and smiling.

She later said Freer reappeared just as she had got over what happened to her last time.

“His latest messages and contact made me feel like it all happened yesterday,” she said in a statement.

“I was very scared. I became scared that he would try and see me in person.”

Her mother told of the girl’s emotional distress and how Freer’s behaviour affected their family life and relationships.

She said the girl stopped feeling safe in her home, became distant and changed her day-to-day activities.

The mum said she “fell to pieces” herself and suffered with depression and anxiety.

Freer, of Leamington Grove, Ormesby, Middlesbrough, admitted stalking, breaching a sexual harm prevention order and failing to comply with notification requirements.

He told police he set up a Facebook account to get in touch with friends and family.

Judge Simon Bourne-Arton QC, the Recorder of Middlesbrough, told Freer: “That was a deliberate and persistent course of offending by you against this young girl.

“Her life has effectively been ruined by you and you have shown little or no remorse whatsoever.

“You had absolutely no regard to her. Your only regard was for yourself.”

He had “absolutely on doubt” Freer meant to groom her for sexual activity.

He said Freer gave an “utterly implausible account” and claimed he had no sexual feelings towards her.

“That is a downright lie in my judgment, Mr Freer,” he added.

“It is quite clear you were attracted to underage girls and this young girl in particular.

“It is said there was no guile, no sophistication. I utterly reject that.”

He said Freer lacked empathy and failed to appreciate his own interest in young girls or the effects of his actions.

He ruled Freer was dangerous posing a significant risk of serious harm to young girls.

Freer was given a total sentence of six years – four years’ imprisonment plus two years’ extended licence.

He was also given an indefinite restraining order.

November 2018

‘Socially inadequate’ pervert used Instagram to stalk the same girl he’d previously groomed

A sex offender used Instagram to stalk a teenage girl he had groomed years ago, a court heard.

Teesside’s top judge has warned 39-year-old John Freer he faces a long prison sentence

Freer groomed an underage girl and tried to meet her and incite her into sexual activity in 2016.

He was jailed for eight months and was given a 10-year sexual harm prevention order (SHPO) for those offences in July last year.

Now he has appeared at Teesside Crown Court again for stalking the same girl and flouting court orders designed to protect children.

Appearing in court via video link to Durham Prison, he was told he faced a long prison sentence.

Prosecutor Harry Hadfield said: “The Crown says this defendant was subject to a SHPO which had stringent prohibitions.

“He is subject to sex offender management unit monitoring.

“What this defendant has done is acquire a mobile phone without the knowledge of the police.”

He said Freer used someone else’s Wifi connection to set up an Instagram account and trace the girl he had groomed two years ago.

She did not know who he was as he was using aliases, added the prosecutor.

Freer, of Leamington Grove, Ormesby, Middlesbrough, has admitted stalking the girl causing her serious alarm and distress by sending her a Facebook friend request and accessing her Instagram account between June and July this year.

He also admitted breaching the SHPO and failing to comply with notification requirements as a sex offender.

According to these charges, he created and used multiple online aliases without disclosing them and used an internet-enabled device failing to keep its internet history between March and September.

Judge Simon Bourne-Arton QC, the Recorder of Middlesbrough, said: “It might indicate the danger that this man poses to the community.

“I don’t think it’s going to help him but it may help me.

“He is facing a substantial sentence of imprisonment on any view.”

He adjourned the case for a report, warning the defendant: “The fact that I’m doing that should not lead you to the view that anything other than a significant sentence of imprisonment is going to be imposed in your case.

“You may be helped by a pre-sentence report, as may I.

“But it may be that probation will deal with the danger you pose to members of the community, particularly vulnerable young women.”

He remanded Freer in custody until sentencing on November 23.

June 2017

Middlesbrough sex offender tried to meet underage girl after grooming her

A sex offender who admitted trying to meet an underage girl after grooming her is awaiting sentence today.

John Freer, 38, pleaded guilty to two sexual offences at Teesside Crown Court on Wednesday.

He admitted attempting to incite a girl under 16, who cannot be named for legal reasons, to engage in sexual activity.

He also admitted attempting to meet a child following sexual grooming – trying to meet the girl intending to commit a sex offence after communicating with her.

He committed both crimes in August last year and will now be registered as a sex offender.

Judge Stephen Ashurst adjourned the case until July 21 for a pre-sentence report to be prepared.

He told Freer: “The fact that you’ve pleaded guilty to both offences at this first crown court hearing is something that will count in your favour when you are sentenced.

“This court will need to look very carefully at the risk assessment in your particular case.

“The fact that you’ve pleaded guilty to these two offences will give rise to registration procedures under the sex offender legislation.

“The precise length of time you’ll be subject to that order will depend on the sentence you receive on July 21.”

He said there were no promises about what the sentence would be, adding: “All options including custody will be considered.”

Freer, of Leamington Grove, Ormesby, Middlesbrough, was given bail on conditions not to contact the victim or have unsupervised contact with children.