May 2022

Lincoln man avoids jail over child sex abuse due to historic rules

A man who ‘robbed children of their childhoods’ has avoided jail due to a rule meaning his maximum time behind bars would only be a ‘matter of weeks.’

Steven Kelsey, 63, of Canwick Road, Lincoln, pleaded guilty to several counts of child sexual abuse and was handed a three-year community order with supervision and 30 rehabilitation days, a 10-year sexual harm prevention order and a restraining order from the victims.

The offences Kelsey committed several decades ago when he was a teenager.

Mr Justice Smith told Kelsey at Teesside Crown Court on Friday, May 13, if he could be certain he had been an adult when he committed the offences, he would have “died in prison.”

Due to the historical nature of the crimes, the maximum sentence Kelsey could have faced was six months in jail, which Mr Justice Smith said would not have reflected the crime he had committed.

Mr Justice Smith said he was left in a difficult position, as the six month jail time would have likely ended in weeks behind bars and there would be a lack of supervision following his release.

There were three victims to Kelsey’s crimes. Mr Justice Smith said: “Understandably, each of them feel they were robbed of their childhood by you.”

One of the victims said he had robbed his “sanity” from him, while another said she endured severe phycological distress.

When sentencing Kelsey, Mr Justice Smith said: “Your case relates to your own crimes committed by yourself when you were a teenager.

“If you were a teenager you would be going to prison for some time, but that was not the position in the 1970s.” He added: “However unjust that must seem to an outside observer, I must follow the law as it was then.”

He said the prison sentence he would be permitted to give Kelsey was equal to someone “involved in shoplifting or throwing a punch on a Friday night.”