South Shields sex offender spared jail after failing to tell police his whereabouts

Newcastle Combined Court. Copyright Google Images.
Newcastle Combined Court. Copyright Google Images.

A sex offender from South Tyneside who failed to keep police informed about his whereabouts after being released from prison has narrowly avoided being put back behind bars.

Jonathon Ridley spent two years in a young offenders institution after being convicted of sexual activity with a child in 2010.

If you don’t get things right this time you will go back to custody.

Judge Sherwin

When the 24-year-old moved into Ridge House, in Beach Road, South Shields, in May he failed to tell the police about his change in address - to comply with sex offence requirements.

When he failed to attend a police station to inform them of the move, an officer attended the property to confirm he lived there.

Newcastle Crown Court heard he had already failed to comply with the sex offenders register twice before resulting in a fine and then a 16 week prison sentence.

It was after his release from prison on May 13 that he failed to notify the police of his new address.

Neil Pallister, prosecuting, said: “He accepted he should have registered when he left prison but accepted he hadn’t. He didn’t put forward any excuses in interview why he hadn’t registered.”

Ridley, of Ridge House, South Shields, admitted failing to comply with the notification requirement under the sex offences act.

He also admitted a further charge of failing to surrender at magistrates court.

Nick Peacock, defending, said: “This is a different breach, a less serious breach. He was maintaining contact with the police. He told them where he was living although he didn’t know the full address.

“The police checked the hostel to see that he was living there and indeed he was living there.

“This isn’t an offence where immediate custody should be at the forefront of the courts mind. He was due to start a job when he was arrested. He has recently established communication with his family.

“This is someone the court could try to chance on because he knows what is going to happen if he doesn’t.”

Judge Deborah Sherwin told Ridley: “You are bound to note by the police where you are living in the community and you must know that by now.

“You must understand if you don’t get things right this time you will go back to custody for a longer period.”

Judge Sherwin handed Ridley a six month jail term, suspended for 12 months.

He must also complete 100 hours of unpaid work and a rehabilitation order for 35 days.