June 2023

Convicted sex offender who was following a lone woman

A group of eagle-eyed street pastors have been praised after they tracked a convicted Kettering sex offender who was following a lone woman.

James Sills was spotted on CCTV tailing the female and keeping pace with her in the early hours of the morning, something he was banned from doing by a court order.

But volunteers from Kettering Street Pastors, who were patrolling the area, kept tabs on his actions so he knew he was being watched and he turned around.

On Friday (June 23) the 36-year-old was locked up and police said the volunteers’ work may have prevented a sexual assault from taking place.

Northampton Crown Court heard Sills, of London Road, was given an indefinite sexual harm prevention order in 2016 and banned from following women. He has convictions for 17 offences, including stalking and sexual assault.

Prosecutor Quiana Fitzpatrick said that in April he was seen sat on a town centre bench at 2am, pretending to be on a phone.

Sills then saw a lone woman and walked behind her before following her.

Ms Fitzpatrick said: “He is described as clearly checking her out. She walked across the road and down the street.

“At this point he moved to the opposite side of the road, keeping pace with her.”

By now he had been identified by CCTV operators and those from the PT Alpha first aid team. Street pastor volunteers followed to make sure the woman was okay, while making sure they didn’t risk a confrontation.

The court heard Sills then turned around but was later spotted by police following two young females by walking ‘very fast’ behind them.

He was arrested and admitted two charges of breaching a sexual harm prevention order.

Sills was handed a suspended sentence in 2022 for another court order breach and it had to be activated it unless it would be unjust to do so.

But Judge Crane said: “I find nothing unjust in this case.”

Sills was sentenced to a total of 18 months in prison and will serve half in custody before being released on licence.