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Prolific sex offender jailed again

MARK WEBB: approached a girl as she read a book on a station platform
MARK WEBB: approached a girl as she read a book on a station platform

A SERIAL sex offender has been jailed for 18 months for flouting a court order banning him from talking to women and girls.

Mark Webb, who has 19 previous convictions for sexual offences, including attempted rape, spoke to a 16-year-old girl at Swanley railway station just three days after being released from prison.

Maidstone Crown Court heard he had been jailed for two-and-a-half years in January 2004 for two previous breaches of the same Sexual Offences Act.

The original order was imposed by Dartford magistrates in May 2003 with a condition that he was not to approach females he did not know at railway, bus and coach stations, except members of staff to make travel arrangements.

Catherine Donnelly, prosecuting, said 41-year-old Webb was released from Maidstone prison on March 4 this year. Several officials, including his probation officer, spoke to him, reminding him of the obligations of the court order.

“They went over the order ensuring he was fully aware of it and the restrictions placed upon him,” she told the court.

However, on March 7, Webb breached the order by talking to the teenage girl. Miss Donnelly said Webb, who was under police surveillance, approached her as she read a book on the station platform.

“He spoke about the book she was reading and also about China and Buddhism,” said Miss Donnelly. “He asked her age and then started to discuss how 16 year olds were prettier now than when he was a teenager. He made references to being born pretty.”

The girl got on to the train and Webb waited on another platform. She later told police that he had made her feel “uncomfortable”.

Webb was arrested two days later at the hostel in Fairmeadow, Maidstone, where he was living. A railway ticket for Swanley to Maidstone was found in his possesion.

“He fully admitted speaking to the girl and that approaching her was a breach,” added Miss Donnelly, “but he stated he wanted to speak to someone normal after being in prison for so long.”

Webb, who has four aliases, pleaded guilty to a breach of the Sexual Offences Order. He was jailed for nine months.

The court also heard that Webb’s licence period for the sentence of two-and-a-half years was due to expire in June 2006. He was further ordered to serve nine months consecutive of that remaining period.

Judge Andrew Patience QC, who had imposed that 30-month sentence last year, said on Friday that he was sorry to see Webb back in the dock.

He also expressed his concerns for Webb’s ageing mother, who had written to him saying her son’s behaviour caused her anxiety. But he added his sympathies “could not be decisive in the matter.”

Giving Webb credit for his guilty plea, Judge Patience continued: “At least this can be said that, although it was quite unlawful (the breach), you did not speak to the girl explicitly about sexual matters to cause her upset or anxiety.

“Therefore I am able to impose a rather shorter sentence than otherwise would be the case. But when I say a licence should not be breached I mean it.”

Webb was informed that the order imposed by the magistrates in May 2003 is also still in force. The maximum sentence for breaching such an order is five years.

The court heard that he was first convicted of a sex offence in 1981. He was sentenced to two years’ probation for attempted rape.

In 1987 he was convicted of indecent assault on a girl under 16, two offences of gross indecency with a child and one of indecent exposure with intent to assault. The court was told he put his hand up an 11-year-old girl’s skirt and touched her bottom.

He was again convicted of indecent exposure in 1987, followed by three years’ imprisonment for attempted rape in 1988. The court heard Webb approached a 15-year-old girl on the street. He struck up a conversation before dragging her behind bushes, removing her shorts and underwear and trying to rape her.

In December 1990 he was jailed for 21 months for two offences of gross indecency with a child. On this occasion he befriended two 11 year olds, took them to a secluded area of a park and then asked them to take photographs of his private parts.

He was jailed for a further eight months in July 1993 for two offences of indecent assault, and was again convicted of indecent exposure a year later.

The court heard he received his longest sentence of six years in December 1994 for indecent assault, and was then jailed for four years in November 1998 for two offences of indecent assault and one of committing an act outraging public decency. On this occasion he made a young girl watch as he committed an offence in a park before molesting her.

He was released from that sentence in 2002, only to be twice recalled by the Home Secretary in July and November of that year.

The Sexual Offences Order was made in May the following year but Webb was soon back behind bars.

“He was again released in December 2003 but within three days was arrested and charged with a breach of the order and sentenced to the 30 months,” explained Miss Donnelly.

Gareth Morley, defending, argued that although Webb had breached the order he had not re-offended sexually, nor acted in an offensive or sexual way to the girl.

“The real shame in this case is if he can only stop when he comes out of prison so the order can be seen to be working and he can avail himself of the help available,” said Mr Morley.

“A very unfortunate pattern has developed where he goes to prison, gets released, breaches the order, goes back to prison and so on.”

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