December 2018

Convicted child rapist back behind bars

A convicted child rapist is back behind bars after he continually failed to check-in with police because “no-one will find him a home”.

Christopher Sweeney was found guilty of breaching a court order that requires him to check in regularly with police so that they can keep an eye on his circumstances, including where he is living.

Derby Crown Court heard how Sweeney, of no fixed abode, was convicted of rape involving a boy under the age of 16 in 2003.

Prosecuting, Eunace Opare-Addo, told the court how 37-year-old Sweeney was taken into custody and interviewed by Derbyshire police after the breach.

She said: “Since he has been struggling to find a place to live, one of his reasons for not complying was that no-one had found him a place to live and would continue not doing so until they found him a place to live.

“Because of the seriousness of his offence, he is required to go to police to notify them of any change in his circumstances.

“He has had previous occasions where he has failed to comply with the court order on numerous times.”

The court heard how Sweeney had a number of previous convictions including 12 breaches of failing to comply.

Mitigating, David Wells told the court how Sweeney had been living on the streets and “at the front of shops”.

He said: “After speaking to him after his custody interview, he accepts that it is not the role of police to make sure he has a home and since said he understands what he needs to do. He was very selfish.

“Ever since serving a long sentence for his previous and serious offence, he has struggled to cope with living outside of prison.

“And in regards to going to the council and trying to find shelter in Milestone House, he has avoided that because people there know his previous crimes and has nearly been assaulted.

“He knows that life outside of prison is tough and says he is beginning to understand that he needs to go to people to seek help about his living conditions.”

Sentencing, Judge Robert Egbuna, sentenced Sweeney to 12 months in prison.

He said: “You have 12 previous convictions for failing to comply with an order.

“You are a grown man. You understand the reasons why you are needed to go to a police station so they can keep an eye on you.

“But you have chosen a number of times not to go to police. You have been doing it for an extremely long time.

“If you continue to choose not to go to police to let them know of your circumstances, you will be given a longer sentence.

“You have been convicted of a very serious offence. It is fair to say that we all wish that people in your circumstances did have a home but that doesn’t stop you from letting police know what is going on.”