May 2023

Ageing County Durham sex offender appears to have no sexual boundaries

A sex offender who poses a “significant” future risk, even at the age of 71, has been jailed for abusing both a child and a woman in her 30s on the same day.

The judge passing sentence on John Ridley told him he appears to have “no sexual boundaries” and seems to hold the belief he can do what he wants, “without facing any consequences”.

Ridley, of South View Terrace, Chilton Moor, near Houghton-le-Spring, admitted sexual assault of a female and of a girl, when he appeared before magistrates earlier this year.

He failed to appear for his scheduled sentencing hearing at Durham Crown Court, last month, but later surrendered himself, blaming a car break down.

The sentencing hearing was rearranged for yesterday (Thursday May 18), when the court was told the defendant served a 15-year sentence, imposed at Newcastle Crown Court, for rape and indecent assault on children, in 2008.

Ian West, prosecuting, said, on his release, despite being on the sex offenders’ register for life, he did not inform those he lived among of his past conviction.

The court heard the latest offences were committed when he indecently assaulted a girl lying in her bed, while telling her to remain quiet, and later carried out a similar offence on a woman in her own home, despite, in both cases, being urged to “stop”.

Police were called and he was arrested the following day, admitting the assault on the woman, but, initially, not the offence involving the child.

Mr West said there were, “disturbing aspects” to the offences, as he had told acquaintances that he “fancied” the woman involved in the offence and that he wanted to get her partner, “off the scene”.

The woman was to tell police she knew nothing of the defendant’s past offending history.

October 2014

Child rapist’s 15-year jail sentence increased for wasting court’s time

A child rapist, who was brought to justice three decades after he preyed on under-age girls, has had the time he must serve behind bars increased by top judges.

John Robert Ridley, 62, raped a girl and abused her between the ages of 11 and 14 and also committed sex attacks on another girl who was just seven at the time.

Ridley, of Stephen’s Road, Murton, was jailed for 15 years at Newcastle Crown Court in June 2008.

He was convicted of 10 counts of indecent assault, plus indecency with a child and rape.

Today he asked top judges at London’s Criminal Appeal Court to grant him permission to appeal against his convictions after criticising his legal representation at trial.

But Lady Justice Hallett, Mr Justice Sweeney and Mr Justice Warby said his complaints were groundless and he was wasting the court’s time.

The judges handed him the equivalent of an extra six-month sentence as punishment for bringing his unarguable case to court.

Lady Justice Hallett said: “He was represented by distinguished solicitors and counsel. His trial was entirely fair. This is a hopeless case.

“Despite being warned … he chose to pursue what in our judgment was a totally unmeritorious application, which has wasted the time of the court.

“Such applications hamper the court’s ability to process meritorious applications. We make a loss of time served order of three months,” the judge concluded.

The loss of time order equates in real terms to an extra six-month sentence being added to Ridley’s existing stretch in prison.