Grimsby sex offender spared prison due to Covid-19

Grimsby sex offender spared prison due to Covid-19

Grimsby sex offender spared prison due to Covid-19

Conditions caused by Covid-19 have helped a sex offender from Grimsby avoid a prison sentence, it has been reported.

Lee Hingston, 63, of St Helen’s Avenue, Grimsby, admitted to inciting an underage girl to engage in sexual activity on April 21 last year.

The fact that prions are facing serious problems with overcrowding and the rapid spread of Covid-19 has proved to be a lifeline for him.

Inmates are having to spend up to 23 hours a day cooped up in their cells.

A court heard how the girl had been left very upset by what happened and was shocked that he later tried to blame her.

Grimsby Crown Court heard that Hingston sent a phone message to a teenage girl saying:

“Text or send a photo later tonight xxx” followed by messages reading “I’ll look forward to it” and “Let me know when you’re in your room xxx” and asked if she wanted a photo of him.

He later sent a message saying: “I would like an intimate photo of you xxx” but she asked him: “What do you mean ‘intimate’?”

The girl sent him a selfie photo of herself and Hingston replied: “You look really nice.”

The girl’s mother became aware of the messages and confronted Hingston, who claimed that he was trying to call out the girl’s behaviour and that she instigated it.

The police were contacted.

The girl later said:

“I do get upset about it. He thought it was all right to blame me. It’s always in my head going round.”

Judge John Thackray QC told Hingston:

“You behaved in an appalling and disgusting manner and you should be thoroughly ashamed of yourself.

“Your first instinct was to blame the complainant.”

Hingston had asked the girl to delete the messages.

“The complainant was understandably extremely upset by your actions,” said Judge Thackray.

Despite being a convicted sex offender, Hingston was spared from being sent to prison, in large part because of the effects of Covid-19 and the problems this has caused in prison.

Craig Lowe, mitigating, said that Higston had shown remorse, and that he was confident similar offending would not happen again.

But, Judge Thackray said:

“But for the pandemic and the difficult circumstances that prisons find themselves in now, this would be an immediate sentence.”

Hingston was given an eight-month suspended prison sentence and 30 days’ rehabilitation.

He must register as a sex offender for 10 years and was given an indefinite restraining order.

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