June 2023

Serial sex offender jailed after wandering around Scarborough with lock knife

A 71-year-old serial sex offender has been jailed yet again after he was found wandering around Scarborough with a lock knife.

Godfrey Bignell, whose criminal career dates back to the early 1970s, returned to his old stomping ground on the east coast for what he claimed was a holiday, York Crown Court heard.

He was swiftly brought to book after police found him with the blade in a betting shop in Westborough.

Prosecutor Tayo Dasaolu said that Bignell was supposed to notify police of a change of whereabouts or address under the terms of his notification requirements as a registered sex offender, but he didn’t do this when he went on his jaunt to Scarborough.

Bignell, who had lived or been staying in the town as recently as 2021, had lately been living in Doncaster.

He had been subject to notification requirements and a sexual-harm prevention order after being convicted of his latest sexual offences in 2018.

Bignell, whose last registered address was Beckett Road, Doncaster, admitted breaching his notification requirements and possessing a knife in public.

He appeared for sentence via video link on June 28 after being remanded in custody.

The court heard he had a criminal record dating back more than 50 years, including convictions for indecent exposure, sexual offences against children, violence, outraging public decency and breaching court orders designed to prevent further sexual offending.

He had served numerous prison sentences down the years, the latest being an 18-month jail term imposed at York Crown in August 2021.

Judge Sean Morris described Bignell’s record as “worrying” particularly as he was in a seaside town “where children go” and said that his carrying of the knife was “incredibly dangerous”.

He told the pensioner: “You are 71 and you are coming back before the courts again and again for breaches of (the court orders).

“I don’t think you are going to get any help on the outside because you won’t help yourself and you do need help.”

Bignell was handed an 18-month jail sentence of which he will serve half behind bars.