MELAINE SHAWS JUDGE,JUDGE PERT LETS SEX PEST GO EARLY

Serial pest is set free early: Appeal Court judges release offender from his prison sentence

A sex pest jailed for a series of “troubling” attacks  is back on the streets after he convinced  judges to free him

Sex attacker David Michael Watson and the CCTV picture that led to him handing himself in to the police

A sex pest jailed for a series of “troubling” attacks is back on the streets after he convinced  judges to free him.
Serial molester David Michael Watson, 24, mouthed lewd  phrases as he grabbed one woman while she walked in public in 2011.
Watson, of Cotemede on the Leam Lane estate, Gateshead, was jailed for 18 months at Newcastle Crown Court in January, after he admitted two counts of sexual assault and one of common assault.
But  judges at London’s Court of Appeal have upheld a challenge to his sentence, quashing it and replacing it with a community order and a sexual offenders treatment programme.
Judge Michael Pert QC said Watson got off the same bus as a 17-year-old girl as she headed home at about 11pm on an August evening in 2011.
He followed her and tried to start a conversation before putting his hand around her. The victim told him to get off, but Watson proceeded to put both his hands around her. She screamed and he let go and she escaped.
Judge Pert said Watson was identified from CCTV footage captured on the bus and an identity parade after the matter was reported to police. This resulted in Watson’s common assault conviction.
The next month, another 17-year-old was walking her dogs when Watson tried to talk to her, asking her name, where she lived and if she had a boyfriend.
As she went to cross a stile, Watson grabbed her, with the girl rebuffing his advance. She had heard about Watson’s first attack and reported her brush with him to  police, the appeal judge added.
Later that month, Watson made another unwanted pass, following a 26-year-old woman as she walked to the shops.
As she tried to walk away, he grabbed her twice,  the appeal judge added.
The woman had read about Watson’s first attack in the Chronicle and contacted the police, identifying Watson as her attacker.
Watson’s barrister admitted the crimes were “troubling” but called for a community order to replace his custodial term as the latter meant he could not attend a much-needed sex offenders treatment programme.
The Appeal Court was handed a report from Watson’s offender manager, which said he was making progress and would be more likely to cease his strange conduct if put on such a programme.
Judge Pert, sitting with Mr Justice Roderick Evans, concluded: “We understand that the sentencing judge felt he ought to punish the appellant.
“But the reality is – as reinforced by the supplementary report we have seen that the sentencing judge had not – it is not in the interests of both Watson and society. Both will be better served if he is allowed to address his aberrant behaviour.
“Accordingly, we will quash the sentences imposed in respect of all the counts and will substitute a community order for two years with a supervision requirement and will order he attend a sex offenders programme.”
The judge made an order excluding Watson from entering certain areas of Gateshead for two years.

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