March 2022

Paedophile pensioner died behind bars after catching Covid at HMP Durham

A “creepy and weird” paedophile pensioner has died from Covid following an outbreak at HMP Durham.

William Jewitt, nicknamed ‘Billy’, had a dark past filled with indecent assaults on children and was jailed for a further two sexual assaults on youngsters in the Middlesbrough area.

The 80-year-old was jailed at Teesside Crown Court for five and a half years last February and died from Covid just weeks after he was sentenced

He caught the deadly virus during an outbreak at HMP Durham that same month after his cellmate tested positive first.

However, a new report into Jewitt’s death reveals he spurned the chance to isolate – despite his frail health.

“F wing was placed in lockdown and there was mass screening of prisoners. A swab taken from Mr Jewitt on 10 February returned as negative on 13 February,” states the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman report.

“However, his cellmate tested positive and began isolation in their cell. In line with government policy, Mr Jewitt was also required to isolate, but he declined the offer to move and asked to remain in his cell.

“On 18 February, Mr Jewitt felt short of breath. A nurse assessed him and noted that he needed a GP review, but he was not added to the GP’s list.

“Late evening on 21 February, Mr Jewitt again had breathing difficulties and was listed to see the GP.

“On the morning of 22 February, the GP unsuccessfully tried to contact him on the in-cell telephone. He reviewed Mr Jewitt’s medical records and planned to chase the request for the repeat chest X-ray.”

However, that afternoon, Jewitt’s cellmate rang his cell bell as Jewitt’s health deteriorated.

A nurse examined him, but he lost consciousness, as staff tried CPR and used a defibrillator to try and save him however paramedics confirmed his death that afternoon.

Plagued with health issues including heart and kidney disease, the Ombudsman ruled they had contributed to his death but that Covid was the ultimate cause.

It isn’t clear if he was vaccinated.

Having been on remand in HMP Durham since 2019, the newly published report states “it is reasonable to conclude that he contracted Covid-19 at the prison”.

Initially jailed in 1995 for an indecent assault, Jewitt also had a history of repeatedly flouting an indefinite sexual harm prevention order (SHPO) aimed at curbing his behaviour.

February 2017

Furious mum snapped photo of paedophile at party – it’s helped send him back to prison

A furious mum snapped a photo of a sex offender at a party when he spoke to her 13-year-old daughter – which helped send him back to jail.

William Jewitt, 76, banned from contact with youngsters under 18, was wearing a yellow party hat in the picture, taken at a Christmas lunch for homeless people.

Jewitt sat opposite the teenage girl and later beckoned her over while he played the piano.

A charity worker who had taken Jewitt to the event told her mother about his history, and she became upset, took his photograph and called the police.

Prosecutor Jenny Haigh showed the photo to the judge and told Teesside Crown Court it was one of many breaches of a sexual offences prevention order imposed on him in July 2000, for 11 sexual offences against children dating back to the 1990s.

She said Jewitt was also a registered sex offender and was fully aware of the conditions imposed on him.

On December 13, Jewitt had attended the lunch at the St Columba’s Church on Wilson Street, Middlesbrough, as part of a project for people living homeless on the streets of Middlesbrough.

He sat opposite the girl who was there with her mother, a volunteer, even though there were other free seats which he could have chosen.

The court heard how Jewitt has continually breached his order:

• He flouted his order by breaking its terms nine times in 2014, which led to a 20 month jail sentence.

• Last year, he breached his notification requirement as a registered sex offender.

• In 2008 Jewitt had again breached his ban on contacting youngsters.

• In 2009 and 2010 he defied his order a number of times by having contact with children in Brotton as they played games.

• He moved into a guest house but did not tell the police, and in 2014 there were five occasions where he associated with children aged between 14 months and nine years.

Judge Howard Crowson told Jewitt: “The order was made to protect girls by prohibiting you from associating with young girls.

“But over the years there has been persistent breaches which concerns me. This breach is not as serious as some that you have committed in the past.

“I understand that you have breached this order many times, and there has been a repetitive nature of your offending.”

Jewitt, of Haddon Street, central Middlesbrough , was jailed for six months with 12 months supervision, and the sexual offences prevention order will continue.

He had pleaded guilty to the December breach.

November 2014

73-year-old child sex offender groomed children

A 73-year-old sex offender has been sent to prison branded a “deceitful” groomer of children.

William Jewitt gave lifts to families and their children without revealing his criminal past, Teesside Crown Court heard.

Judge Deborah Sherwin told the pensioner in the dock that he was befriending families and gaining their trust.

She said: “It may be that these offences didn’t involve you being alone with any of the children.

“But I take the view, looking at your background, that what you were undertaking was the grooming of these children.

“I have no doubt that if you had your way, things would have evolved in time so that you could have been alone with those children.”

Jewitt was jailed for six years for 11 child sex offences in 1995 – seven of indecent assault and four of gross indecency. They included molesting two girls in his car.

Cleveland Police successfully applied for a sexual offences prevention order (SOPO) in 2005.

The indefinite order stayed in force since, banning Jewitt from associating with under-18s.

He repeatedly breached it, as well as failing to register one address with the police.

He was given a 15-month prison sentence in 2010 after he befriended families with young children and mums unaware of his history.

He was at Teesside Crown Court today for flouting the court order by taking children into his car, although they had adults with them.

He never mentioned the lifts to the police officer who supervised him in visits every four months.

One mother later said she was “horrified” to learn the truth about the convicted sex offender.

She said she would never have allowed contact with the children if she had known of his background.

Prosecutor Paul Lee said there was no suggestion Jewitt had been left alone with the children.

He was arrested on October 30 after an officer who came to a reported incident on a Middlesbrough street and saw him with children.

The 73-year-old accepted he gave lifts to adults with children present, but denied intending to harm any of the children.

Jewitt, formerly of West Terrace, North Ormesby, Middlesbrough, admitted five breaches of the SOPO.

The offences carried a maximum prison sentence of five years.

A pre-sentence report said Jewitt’s sole intention was to gain access to children for his sexual gratification.

John Nixon, defending, said Jewitt denied this and maintained “he would never have done anything to hurt the children”.

He said Jewitt had not been convicted of a sexual offence since 1995, nor had there been any suggestion of “improper motives” in his SOPO breaches.

He told the court Jewitt did not try to isolate the children in the latest offences, which came to light after he called police over a domestic incident.

This showed Jewitt seemed “oblivious” to the fact that he was committing a crime, added Mr Nixon.

He told how Jewitt’s home was vandalised, ransacked and boarded up after his neighbourhood discovered his past, and he was now homeless.

Judge Sherwin said the pre-sentence described Jewitt as “very deceitful and always looking to have contact with children”.

He was deemed to be “not truthful about anything” and a high risk of re-offending, she added.

She told him only custody could be justified and jailed him for 20 months.