Monday, May 16, 2016

Man with sexual interest in horses avoids jail after staying out of trouble for six months

A man with a sexual interest in horses has avoided a prison sentence after staying out of trouble for six months. Malcolm Downes, 58, is subject to an anti-social behaviour order, which states he is "not to enter any field, stables or other area that contains any equine animal in the Humberside Police area". But Downes, who has previously been caught performing sex acts in front of horses, breached the order twice within as many weeks last year. He was seen by horse owners in a field off Danepark Road, Orchard Park, Hull, on October 8 within 25m of a tethered black stallion.

Prosecutor Stephen Welch told Hull Crown Court the owners "both knew of him and knew he was prohibited from being in a field with horses. As they saw him he made off across the fields." At 1.15pm on October 19, the witnesses again saw Downes in the field. This time they did try to cut him off, but he managed to get away from them," said Mr Welch. Police visited Downes at his home in north Hull, on October 23. He made "full and frank admissions" in interview, and later admitted two breaches of the order. The court heard his problem "first manifested itself in the 1970s".

His record included 12 offences of exposure and five breaches of an anti-social behaviour order. Paul Norton, for Downes, said he was taking part in programme for male sex offenders called Becoming A New Me. "Mr Downes tells me that he's benefiting a great deal from engagement with the probation services," said Mr Norton. "It does seem to me, the more he can engage with the probation service, the better it is for him," said Recorder Ben Nolan QC. Mr Norton said: "It prevents Mr Downes becoming isolated, which may presage further offending." Downes appeared for sentence in November, but another judge deferred dealing with him for six months to see if he could stay out of trouble, which he had.

Sentencing Downes to a 12-month community order, which includes 25 days of rehabilitation, Recorder Nolan QC told him: "He deferred sentence for six months to see if it was possible, notwithstanding your bizarre problems, if you could stay out of trouble. Well, you have. Only for six months, but it's enough to demonstrate to me that you can do it, and you can continue to do it." The three-year Asbo had previously been extended to run until May 6, 2018. Downes has previously admitted having a sexual interest in horses. The judge warned him: "Be very careful, please, in the next two years, because any further breaches of the order will place you in prison, and I imagine with your background, and no doubt notoriety now, prison life would be very miserable indeed. Don't challenge yourself by going in the presence of horses. Keep away from them. It's not difficult to do. I live my life without going near a horse."

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