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Pervert breaks order after just weeks

Sara Nichol, Evening Chronicle, March 29, 2008

"He also claimed 30 seconds was not long enough to be classed as loitering. But magistrate Professor Reavley Gair disagreed...."

He was banned from hanging around children, but weeks after being  released from prison he was back.

Jeremy Hicks, 45, was jailed for two years in 2005 after admitting  performing a sex act while sitting next to a seven-year-old girl on  Whitley Bay beach.

But less than a fortnight after his release, the persistent sexual pest,  who has 12 previous convictions of indecent assault and indecent 
exposure, breached his five-year Sexual Offences Prevention Order and was remanded in custody by Newcastle magistrates.

Part of the order banned Hicks, of Westmorland Road, Newcastle, from loitering within 20 metres of a person under the age of 18 - a rule he broke when he was caught standing four meters from a seven-year-old girl and fixedly gazing at her in Newcastle's Central Station.

The girl and her mother were unaware of Hick's presence, but he was pulled aside by PC Andrew Bates and arrested.

Karen Heaton, prosecuting, said: 

"Mr Hicks was seen on Grainger Street by PC Bates, standing with a can of beer in his hand by St John's Church. He seemed to be wildly gesticulating and talking to himself.

"PC Bates followed Mr Hicks down towards Central Station and saw him cross the road at Neville Street. As he crossed the road he caused a bus to break hard. He then proceeded to wave his arms around and shout at the bus driver.

"Mr Hicks then walked off towards the left hand side entrance of Central Station and PC Bates started to follow him. When PC Bates entered the station he found Mr Hicks to be standing motionless, completely frozen, and staring towards a child, who looked about seven years old and appeared to be standing with her mother. He was standing about four or five meters away from the child and remained there for about 30 seconds."

Hicks, who is on the sex offenders register for 10 years and was on a two-year license at the time of his arrest, was searched and found to be 
carrying a can of amyl nitrate, also known as poppers, and a can of beer,

Claiming to be gay, Hicks said he planned to use the drug as a sexual stimulant in a gay bar.

PC Bates told the court: 

"When I observed Mr Hicks in the station, he was standing absolutely still, frozen in fact. His behaviour had gone from erratic to literally motionless. It was like he had literally stopped in his steps.

"I realised he was staring at a young girl, who appeared to be about seven, as she stood next to who I presume was her mother. They were unaware of him staring. I walked over to him, which took about 30 seconds, tapped him on the shoulder and gestured to him to come aside."

Andrew Williams, defending, said Hicks had gone into the station to use the toilet and was standing still to look for directions, as his time in 
prison had made him forget the station layout.

He also claimed 30 seconds was not long enough to be classed as loitering. But magistrate Professor Reavley Gair disagreed and found Hicks to be in breach of his Sexual Offenders Order, remanding him in custody until he is sentenced at the city's crown court.

Afterwards, former Durham Police chief superintendent Lord Brian Mckenzie, of Framwellgate, said: 

"Hicks is obviously a danger and I think he should be given a fairly harsh sentence for breaking his order.

"Those orders are there for a reason, to keep children safe, and, of course, if he doesn't obey the rules he doesn't deserve to be given the order in the first place. He should stay in prison unless he accepts responsibility and gets the help he needs. His is obviously potentially harmful to children and the bottom line is ensuring their safety. Their safety should not be compromised and by breaking his order he is clearly doing that."

In 2005, Hicks pleaded guilty to performing a sex act while in the presence of a child at Whitley Bay after the little girl's grandmother realised what was happening and contacted police.

He was jailed for two years but released last month before landing himself back in custody a week later. He was also charged with possession of cannabis.

Convicting Hicks, Prof Reavley said: 

"Your defense that you were looking for directions is not sufficient."

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