July 2010

Pervert Richard Norwood jailed for watching children at Faversham pool

A PAEDOPHILE who took pleasure in watching children at Faversham swimming pools has been jailed.

Despite being banned from visiting leisure centres, swimming pools and children’s play areas, Richard Norwood, 55, visited the complex in Leslie Smith Drive on July 10 – the hottest day of the year.

The pervert appeared at Canterbury Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, September 9, where he pleaded guilty to breaching a five-year sex offenders’ prevention order imposed in 2006 for making and possessing indecent images of children.

Mr Norwood, who has a preference for girls aged 4 to 14, was arrested after admitting to the visit when police officers called at his home in Ashford to carry out a statutory check.

The court was told how Norwood’s attraction to children began after he read a book about paedophilia, which warped his outlook on the subject. He previously confessed to police how he wanted to befriend children aged as young as three.

Norwood refused to accept his desires were wrong – even claiming the law should be changed to decriminalise his activities.

Described in court as a loner, Norwood was said to have been severely affected by the death five years ago of his mother, with whom he had a close relationship, to the point where she “wrapped him up in cotton wool”.

A lengthy psychiatric report, requested at the court hearing on July 22, concluded that while Norwood’s mental state was sometimes erratic and coupled with prolonged periods of depression, he did not suffer from mental illness.

Charlotte Collette, defending, urged the magistrates to consider Norwood’s early guilty plea, as well as his willing confession to officers about his pool visit, demonstrating his honest character.

She suggested the defendant had “as good as served his sentence already”, having spent two months in custody, which he found a “very unpleasant” experience. She said he had been assaulted by a fellow prisoner.

Miss Collette emphasised that while at the Faversham pool, Norwood did not attempt to approach, or talk to, any of the children. She underlined the psychiatrist’s view that his risk of re-offending was low.

However, magistrates concluded that, due to the serious nature of the offence, only a custodial sentence was appropriate.

Norwood was jailed for 120 days, but will serve only 65, having been on remand since July.

He will continue to see psychiatrists and be monitored by the police, to ensure the sexual offenders’ prevention order is not breached again.

The court will consider renewing the order when it expires in September next year.