August 2022

More jail time ‘almost inevitable’ for sex offender’s order breach

A sex offender who bought a laptop in breach of a court order the day after he was released from prison was warned that further jail time was ‘almost inevitable’.

Lee Ansell, 37, candidly told detectives he bought the computer in order to access indecent images of children and download ‘paedophilic stories’.  

He arrived at Oxford Crown Court on Tuesday morning expecting to learn his fate, having pleaded guilty at the magistrates’ court last month to breaching his sexual harm prevention order by buying the laptop and internet dongle from the CEX electronics games exchange.

But Judge Ian Pringle QC adjourned the case until November after he was told it could take up to eight weeks for the device to be checked for illicit material – despite a request by a detective sergeant that the device was fast-tracked through the system.

Remanding Ansell in custody and ordering a pre-sentence report, the judge said: “I make it clear that report is to concentrate on the work he may be doing [to address a ‘problem’ with looking at indecent images of children’] whilst in custody, because custody is really almost inevitable in this case.”

Last month, Oxford Magistrates’ Court heard that Ansell had been released from prison on July 15 after an earlier sentence imposed at Reading Crown Court.

Within 24 hours, he had gone to Reading from his bail hostel in Oxford to buy a laptop and a dongle that could connect the computer to the internet.

He failed to tell the police about the new internet-enabled devices in breach of the sexual harm prevention order, which was originally imposed for possession of child sex abuse material.

Officers were alerted by bail hostel staff concerned that he was using the computer in his bedroom.

Interviewed by detectives, he admitted using an internet website he had previously accessed in order to look at indecent images of children and download what was described as ‘paedophilic stories’.

Told by prosecutor Jonathan Stone on Tuesday that the purchases came so soon after his release from prison, Judge Pringle described it as ‘breath-taking’.

Ansell, of no fixed address, appeared in the dock wearing a grey prison-issue tracksuit and a grey beard. He spoke only to confirm his name.

A previous sentence, which he served at HMP Bullingdon, was said to have been too short for him to qualify for courses aimed at rehabilitating sex offenders.

Ansell will return to court for sentencing on November 3.