November 2010

Sex offender jailed for breaching order

PROLIFIC criminal William Roast has been jailed for breaching his Sex Offender Prevention Order.

Roast, 41, of Heneaton Square, Countess Wear, in the city, was sent to prison for six months at Exeter Crown Court.

Police discovered him sat in a woman’s living room at her city home with her three children, although the court heard he was not intending to commit any offence.

He pleaded guilty to breaching his SOPO which was made by the crown court on April 1 this year.

He is also in breach of a conditional discharge imposed by magistrates in September, for failing to comply with the Sex Offender Register.

Roast had been convicted of a sexual activity with a child under 18 and witness intimidation.

The Echo reported at the time how Roast committed the crime when he was alone with the girl in 2008.

His conviction meant he added a sexual offence to his list of more than 100 crimes, including violence, drugs, burglary and driving convictions.

Prosecutor Ann Hampshire said Roast was clearly told about the SOPO, imposed as part of his sentence.

It banned him from being in the company of any child under 18 unless accompanied by a parent or guardian who had knowledge of his conviction.

She said: “Police visited Mr Roast on August 26, in order to make sure the defendant understood.

“His response was he said, ‘I don’t have to comply with anything.'”

He then swore, saying he did not care, when visited again in October.

Six days after that reminder, police attended a woman’s house in the city and found him sat in the front room.

He was arrested outside and the woman said she had no previous knowledge of his conviction for a sexual offence.

She said that he had been an acquaintance a long time ago and had knocked on the door, walked in and sat on the sofa.

The conditional discharge was imposed for the breach of the Sexual Offender Register after Roast failed to keep up to date with signing his details.

Defence counsel Vanessa Francis said Roast had not been targeting youngsters and had a genuine reason to visit the house, after one of the adult residents told him their mobile phone charger was not working.

“He lives in a small community where this offence is known and was well reported,” she said. “This is simply a man who is isolated and sad and wants to make friends.”

She added that the probation service had “fallen out of love” with Roast and vice versa, as he had complied with previous community orders for unrelated offences but was finding his current restrictions made life difficult.

Judge Neligan said Roast would serve half his prison sentence, before being released on licence, and that time spent remanded in custody would be taken into account.