November 2015

Serial sex fiend is behind bars after clocking up his 301st conviction


A serial sex fiend has been put behind bars after clocking up his 301st criminal conviction.

Gordon Catchpole, who started his criminal career in the 1950s, groped a woman in Sunderland after offering to pay her for sex.

Newastle Crown Court heard his horrified victim had suffered sex abuse it the past and said her ordeal in September brought unwanted memories flooding back.

She told police: “I am terrified since the incident.

“It has brought back a lot of memories. I feel vulnerable due to the previous experience of sexual assault.

“I have been exposed to sexual abuse it the past.”

The court heard Catchpole, formerly from South Shields, had been living at a hostel after his last suspended prison sentence for breaching a sexual offences prevention order.

The 77-year-old attacked the woman after asking her if they could have a word in private.

Prosecutor Neil Pallister said: “He said to her ‘I think you are lovely. I could pay you for sex, bring knickers and suspenders to my room’.”

Mr Pallister said Catchpole then pounced on the woman and groped her again a few minutes later.

The court heard Catchpole has convictions for sexual offences dating back to 1964 and has served prison sentences for crimes including exposure and indecent assaults.

His criminal background includes violence and assaults.

Catchpole, of no fixed address, admitted two charges of sexual assault in relation to the hostel attack and breach of his previous suspended sentence.

Judge Paul Sloan sentenced him to a total of two years and ten months.

The judge told Catchpole: “She was terrified by the experience and it brought back many unpleasant memories of having been assaulted in the past.

“Your actions exacerbated her feelings of vulnerability.

“You have a long history of offending.

“The offences form part of a significant pattern of like offending.”

Shaun Routledge, defending, said it may be “late in the day”, but Catchpole has started to co-operate with his offending manager.

Mr Routledge told the court: “Alcohol, that is the problem.”

Catchpole is already banned from afternoon travel on public transport in a bid to keep him away from schoolchildren.

June 2015

South Shields sex pest clocks up his 300th conviction

A serial sex fiend has avoided prison after clocking-up the 300th offence of his 49-year criminal career.

Pervert pensioner Gordon Catchpole, who started offending in the 1950s, was banned from travelling on public transport in the afternoons after he was locked-up in 2012 for sexually assaulting two schoolgirls on buses.

But the 77-year-old breached the restriction when he was caught at 3pm in May on a train heading from Newcastle to York.

Catchpole, whose life of crime includes a number of sex offences, was spotted causing trouble on the train and, when approached, it was found he was drunk and had no ticket.

The pensioner, who had been planning on taking a daytrip to York, was removed from the carriage at Darlington, where he tried to hide and “swung for” rail staff.

Now, Catchpole, of Havelock Street, South Shields, has narrowly avoided another stint behind bars after pleading guilty to using threatening behaviour and breaching his Sexual Offences Prevention Order by travelling on the train at Newcastle Crown Court.

Sentencing him to 12 months in prison, suspended for two years, Mr Recorder Keith Miller said: “You are a thorough menace.

“You have appeared before the courts on 150 occasions for 300 offences.

“The catalogue of misery, the catalogue of distress you have caused to people since you started offending in the 1950s must be immeasurable.

“In addition, the cost to the tax payer of dealing with you over the last 50 to 60 years must, once again, be impossible to calculate.”

He added: “You are gong to spend your last days in prison if you are not very, very careful.”

Kieran Rainy, mitigating, said Catchpole had decided to go on a trip to York after drinking in various pubs in Newcastle City Centre.

He said the pensioner suffered from severe alcohol problems and social isolation.

Mr Rainy said: “It’s an appalling record for a man of his age.”

In 2012, Catchpole was sentenced to 32 months in prison in 2012 after admitting indecently assaulting an 11-year-old girl on a bus between Sunderland and South Shields and another, aged 15, on another bus between Chester-le-Street and Washington.

At the time, Judge Christopher Prince, sitting at Durham Crown Court, said Catchpole had “offended the length and breath of Britain” and placed him on the Sex Offenders Register for life.

Catchpole had stayed out of trouble for a year since his release from that sentence, Mr Rainy told the court.

February 2012

OAP public transport sex pest faces possible life sentence

A PERVERTED pensioner who became a public transport sex pest was yesterday jailed for two years and eight months.

But, Gordon Catchpole was told that he will be at risk of an indeterminate sentence of possible life duration should he commit another sex offence.

The warning was given to the 73-year-old prolific offender by Judge Christopher Prince who also banned him from using public transport when schoolchildren are likely to be travelling.

Catchpole previously admitted two counts of sexual touching, relating to girls aged 11 and 15, who he sat alongside on buses before stroking their legs.

In both cases he appeared intoxicated and spoke inappropriately, making suggestive remarks to the girls, who were each wearing school uniforms.

Martin Towers, prosecuting, said one got off the bus before her usual stop to escape his attentions, while the ordeal of the other girl only ended when another pupil intervened and distracted him.

One offence took place on a bus from Chester-le-Street to Gateshead and the other between Sunderland and South Shields, in June and July last year.

Scott Smith, mitigating, conceded the latest offences were unsavoury in nature, both after Catchpole had been drinking, but added that he has spent 190 days in custody since his arrest.

Judge Prince adjourned sentence on Catchpole a week earlier as he wanted to know more about his extensive offending history.

The court was told yesterday that his record features many offences of an indecent nature, going back 46 years, some of which were in similar situations on public transport.

Jailing Catchpole, of Beach Road, South Shields, to consecutive 16 month sentences for the latest two offences, Judge Prince told him: “You’re 73 and have an appalling record of public order offences, exposing yourself, other sex offences and assault.

“You have shown no intention of desisting.

“I’m giving you a clear warning.

“If you are back before a court I will invite the case to be placed before me.

“If you come back before me I will consider passing an indeterminate sentence.

“Putting it bluntly, that may very well mean you would never be released from custody.”

When he is released from prison, Catchpole, who must sign the Sex Offenders’ Register for life, will be prohibited from public transport, with the exception of from 9.30am to 2.30pm, and 5.30pm to 7.30am, unless he has secured the prior approval of police.