April 2010

Bristol sex offender moved, but didn’t tell police

A CONVICTED sex offender could be jailed after failing to tell police he had moved house.

Robert Guy De Souza, 26, narrowly avoided prison last year after being convicted of having sex with a child.

He was given a suspended sentence and made to sign the Sex Offenders Register for 10 years after having sex with a 15-year-old girl he had invited to his flat.

Now he faces being locked up after magistrates decided they were not able to give him a strong enough sentence to properly deal with his case – the maximum they can impose is a year in prison.

Under the rules of the register, De Souza was required to tell police within three days of moving to a new address.

But Bristol Magistrates’ Court heard that when he left the Salvation Army hostel in Wade Street, St Jude’s, and moved to Sion Road in Bedminster, he failed to inform the authorities for almost two months.

Yesterday’s hearing was told that De Souza had not felt “motivated” to tell police about his move on December 18 last year and it was not until February 15 that he finally went to Trinity Road police station to report it.

He was arrested and later pleaded guilty to a charge of failing without reasonable excuse to comply with the notification requirement of the Sexual Offences Act.

The court heard that De Souza was given a 54-week suspended jail sentence, including supervision, at Bristol Crown Court in February last year for an offence carried out the previous October.

Kelly Marshall, prosecuting, said De Souza had invited a teenager who was living in the same block of flats over to watch a film and had sex with her in his flat.

Ms Marshall said: “The girl told her mother and he was arrested.

“He fully accepted that sexual intercourse had taken place.

“He said he believed she was over 16 and consenting.

“He was initially charged with rape and sexual activity with a child, but the Crown didn’t proceed with the rape charge.”

As part of his sentence for the sex offence De Souza was ordered to notify the authorities of any change of address within three days of it taking place.

Ms Marshall told the court De Souza had moved from the hostel into a housing association property in Sion Road but did not register at Trinity Road Police Station until almost two months had elapsed.

She said: “He was arrested and in interview he admitted that he left the Salvation Army without notifying police. He had experienced problems at this address. He made allegations that he had been assaulted and that they knew he was a sex offender.

“Registering his new address is not something he felt motivated to do.”

Defence solicitor Guy Percival asked magistrates to consider sentencing De Souza themselves rather than sending him to be dealt with by a Crown Court judge.

Mr Percival said: “We are dealing with somebody who lived in supported accommodation and then moved to Sion Road. He got quite depressed because he was having difficulty with residents in that area. He very foolishly didn’t tell the police the address he was moving to.

“This is not someone who made an effort to disappear. By February 15 he had gone to Trinity Road Police Station to tell them where he lived. He fully admitted the offence. I would ask you to take all of that into account.”