January 2018

Convicted sex offender Lana Laws, from Ramsgate, avoids jail after breaching order

A convicted sex offender has narrowly avoided going straight to jail after being found living with a teenage girl.

Accountant Lana Laws was placed on the Sex Offenders’ Register for 10 years in February 2011 for downloading illegal images of children.

It was the FOURTH time Lana Laws, 34, has breached sanctions.

Canterbury Crown Court heard she was then called Ben Laws but “now identifies herself as a woman”.

But under the restrictions she was prohibited from living in the same house as someone under the age of 18.

Prosecutor Steve Mould said police went to Laws’ home in February last year and discovered he was in a relationship with the 17-year-old girl.

Laws, 34, of York Street, Ramsgate, admitted breaching the Sexual Offences Act by failing to notify police she was in a relationship.

The prosecutor said it was the fourth breach of the restrictions but Laws claimed it was out of “forgetfulness rather than malice”.

The court heard how the two met through the internet when the teenager initially claimed to be 18 years old.

Laws was given a nine-month jail sentence suspended for two years and ordered to do 100 hours of unpaid work for the community.

April 2011

Child porn DJ avoids jail despite risk he could act out ‘warped fantasies’

A DJ – with a history of attacking women – who downloaded indecent photos of under age girls has been set free to roam the streets of Thanet again.

Judge Simon James admitted “most right-thinking people” would want Ben Laws, 32, sent to prison but did not jail him.

Experts warned the judge there was a real risk he would “act out his warped fantasies” particularly targeting “pre-teen” girls.

But Laws, who was the resident DJ at St James’ Hall in Ramsgate, literally burst out of the crown court on Friday and ran at full tilt into the centre of Canterbury to escape being photographed by the Isle of Thanet Gazette.

He was let off with a promise to attend therapy and was sentenced to 12 months, suspended for two years.

Although he had worked as a well-paid accountant during the day before DJing at night, he was also excused paying £500 costs as he claimed he was going to have to sign on this week due to the case.

Laws claimed he was downloading obscene images of naked children and girls in school uniform as “research” into his own child sex abuse.

The judge dismissed his claims and, after Laws tried to blacken the name of an adult he claimed had abused him, the court ordered that innocent adults should not be identified.

Laws hid the computers he used to access pictures of children being forced into sex at St James’ Hall and was originally convicted of eight counts of “making indecent photographs of children” at Margate Magistrates’ Court on February 28. He was sent to Canterbury Crown Court for sentence.

Prosecuting, Donna East told the judge Laws had “deliberately sought out images” that became progressively stronger.

The judge had adjourned sentence from March to April 8 to hear more evidence from a psychiatrist who had met Laws.

Judge James said: “These offences present a most concerning picture. You have previous convictions of sexual assaults on strangers. You approached young women on the street and attempted to touch them. You say you viewed images of young children not for sexual gratification but to come to terms with sexual abuse you suffered as a child. Those offences of sex abuse have never been reported to the authorities and so they have never been investigated as to their veracity or truth.

“I am not prepared to sentence you on any other basis than that you did indeed gain sexual gratification from viewing these images.

“There are a number of aggravating features. You continued to offend on bail and you show a lack of insight into your offending. Your refusal to admit you have a sexual interest in children is a worrying factor. Many of the pictures are of the lower classification but you admit to viewing them on a regular basis and there were others of a higher classification. In the light of your offences, there is a significant risk of serious harm to the public. A consultant psychiatrist said there is a real likelihood you will continue to seek out and view pictures of children but opinion on whether you will ever act out your warped fantasies is divided. I conclude there must be a considerable risk to children. The question is how to manage that risk.”

The judge said he was bound by guidelines that meant he could hand down only a relatively short sentence.

He added: “Even taking into account your offences on bail and previous sexual offences, I am not given the option of passing an indeterminate prison sentence. By statute I am bound to give you credit for your guilty plea and you will serve no more than half the term I impose, which will mean your release soon into the community without any therapeutic support. Your persistent offending deserves a prison sentence, most right-minded people would agree, but sending you to prison today will see you released very quickly with no intervention, giving more of a risk to children. So society is best served and protected by your not going into custody today.”