September 2017

Man found sleeping in shed with girl, 15, won’t go on sex offenders register

A man who was caught sleeping with a 15-year-old runaway is not to be placed on the sex offenders register because he was prosecuted for abduction rather than any sexual offence.

Levy Ball was found by police harbouring the troubled teenaged girl in a derelict shed in Torquay a week after she had run away from home to be with him.

He had been given four official warnings by police to stay away from her and told he would be charged with abduction if he took her out of the control of her parents.

The girl refused to cooperate with police or social worked and so no sexual allegations were brought against Ball, who was jailed for nine months at Exeter Crown Court two weeks ago.

His case was brought back to court to decide whether he should be placed on the Sex Offenders Register and made subject to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO).

Edward Bailey, prosecuting, said a SHPO had been imposed at the time of the original sentence banning any further contact with the victim, but a legal anomaly had come to light.

A SHPO could not be made without the offender also being put on the Sex Offenders’ Register but the offence of which Ball was convicted does not qualify as a sexual offence.

Judge Graham Cottle varied the order to a restraining order which prohibits any contact with the girl while she remains in full time education.

The penalty for breaking the order is up to five years imprisonment, which is exactly the same as that for breaking a SHPO.

In the original case, bricklayer Ball, aged 20, of Pendennis Road, Torquay, denied child abduction but was found guilty and jailed for nine months.

He was arrested when a police officer searching for the girl looked through broken slats of a shed in a back lane off Audley Avenue, Torquay, and saw the girl and Ball sleeping inside.

Ball asked the policeman to wait while they got dressed but he escaped out of the back wearing only trousers and no top and vanished.

The girl came out in underwear and a dressing gown, gave a false name and tried to run off but was caught and taken home. She denied she had been with Ball and refused to cooperate with police.

Ball claimed it was a case of mistaken identity and the man in the shed was someone called Kyle, who looked like him.

He said he had been at a party in woods at the time and that selfies on his phone showing him and the girl snuggled up in the shed were taken in a treehouse on an earlier occasion.

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