March 2011

Paedophile in court over fears of grooming child

A paedophile has been given a ten-year sexual offences prevention order (SOPO) after police feared he was grooming a young boy.

Predatory David Ward, of Bridgewood Road, Woodbridge, is said to pose high risk to the community, particularly when he gets into trusting relationships with families of young people.

The 63-year-old had previously served a nine-year jail term for sex offences against children.

Ward appeared before Ipswich magistrates for the SOPO application after public protection officers found a birthday card from a boy and his mother.

The officers visited Ward’s home on July 7 last year and saw the card, which the mum had signed ‘with love’ from her and her son. Ward, who previously lived in Ipswich, resisted disclosing their identities.

He said he had met the woman while he was out walking his dog and claimed the boy was aged 14.

However, the woman subsequently went to a police station to say Ward had revealed to her that he was on the Sex Offenders’ Register.

Her son was aged 12 and not 14 as Ward had said.

The mother also told police Ward had visited the family home, child-minded her son, and had offered him the opportunity to stay at his address.

The court was told that, after assessment, Ward is deemed to be a high risk to the community.

Officers feared Ward was creating further opportunities to offend against young boys. They were also worried that he chose not to disclose his previous child-sex convictions to the woman, giving him the opportunity to groom her son, and possibly his friends.

The overriding concern was that Ward would commit further offences, which is why the SOPO application was made.

Magistrates granted the order with conditions barring Ward from living in the same house as a child under 18, and forbidding him to have unsupervised contact with anyone under 18 except in the course of normal day-to-day activities.

Other conditions include banning Ward from working with, or undertaking any organised activity, with someone under 18, and being alone in any vehicle with someone below that age.

Ward was convicted of child sex offences by Luton Crown Court in 1997. He received a 12-year jail term, which was reduced to nine on appeal. It is understood the offences occurred in Hitchin.

Ward was also ordered to sign the Sex Offenders’ Register for an indefinite period.