Court Watch

Flasher will not be jailed A MAN who exposed himself to staff at Littleport library escaped a jail sentence this week, and instead was ordered to take part in a sexual offenders programme. David Hewitt, of Ryston Road, Denver, had admitted three charges

Flasher will not be jailed

A MAN who exposed himself to staff at Littleport library escaped a jail sentence this week, and instead was ordered to take part in a sexual offenders' programme.

David Hewitt, of Ryston Road, Denver, had admitted three charges of exposure, and asked for 20 further similar offences to be taken into consideration.

Ely magistrates were told that he went into Littleport library on December 19 last year. He spoke to a member of staff, and she noticed he was masturbating and exposing himself.

"He acknowledges he caused some embarrassment to the lady," said prosecutor Flynn Jennings. "He handed himself into the police station and confessed to the three offences in Littleport and approximately 20 other offences."

Mitigating, Jeremy Kendall said: "The most worrying thing is not just the distress to members of the public, but the implications behind it, the loosening of taboos that can lead to further offences.

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"There is nothing to say his behaviour has escalated, but he has caused annoyance and harassment to members of the public."

He said Hewitt had limited social contact, and was an isolated individual. This offence was an attempt to try and find an encounter with the opposite sex.

Giving him a three-year community order with a condition to attend the Thames Valley sex offenders' programme, presiding magistrate Bryant Watson told Hewitt: "We did consider a custodial sentence, but felt it would not be appropriate, because it would not solve the problem you have."

Catalogue of crimes admitted

MAGISTRATES have ordered a pre-sentence report on former Littleport man Philip Catling, who has admitted charges of assault, theft and disorderly behaviour.

Catling, 20, assaulted Howard Clarke in Ely on February 27 last year, and assaulted Ian Thompson in Ely on April 21. He stole a bottle of lager from the Co-op in Littleport on January 27 last year, and stole another four cans of lager from the same shop on March 1. He committed disorderly behaviour in Littleport on April 20.

Appearing before Ely magistrates on Thursday, Catling was told that a further allegation of assaulting Sarah Thompson in Ely on April 21, which he has denied, had been discontinued by the Crown Prosecution Service.

Catling, who gave an address in High Street, Littleport, but lives mainly in Stonehaven, Scotland, had his case adjourned for four weeks.

Man's shame after drinking spree and night of violence

A NIGHT of violence erupted after drunken Maurice Murfitt left a function at The Anchor pub in Little Downham, and went in search of his girlfriend.

When he found Tracey Lawrence he assaulted her and two of her friends, and smashed a pane of glass in a front door.

And later the same night he tried to get his Staffordshire bull terrier to attack one of the women.

"My client's only excuse is that he had so much to drink he cannot remember what he did, or what happened," solicitor John Aspinall told Ely magistrates on Thursday.

"He has had this problem in the past, drinking too much and becoming aggressive and violent. He is absolutely ashamed of what he has done."

Murfitt, 39, of Park Lane, Little Downham, had gone to the function with his girlfriend Tracey Lawrence, and they had been joined by Tanja Cowling and her sister Sandra Seal, said prosecutor Flynn Jennings. " He wanted to stay, but the three ladies wanted to go home, and they left."

The three women went to Tanja Cowling's home, when a pane of glass in the door was smashed, and Murfitt was found outside.

He forced the door open, and punched Tanja in the face. Sandra Seal went to her aid, and she was punched a couple of times on the head.

"Murfitt screamed he wanted Tracey Lawrence to come home," said Mr Jennings. "They left, but Murfitt returned and barged into the house.

As Tanja tried to call the police he threatened her, and when Sandra Seal stood in front of him she was punched. She was hit on the bridge of the nose.

"Murfitt was there with his Staffordshire bull terrier, there is a suggestion he egged on his bull terrier to attack Sandra Seal."

Sentencing was adjourned until February 28.

Woman travelled to London in order to buy 'party drugs'

FORTY-two-year-old Littleport woman Sharon Martin went to London to buy drugs for her friends to use at a party, a court heard this week.

Martin bought 3.93 grams of the designer Class A drug ecstasy, and was found with the drug in the town on November 10 last year.

At Ely Magistrates' Court on Thursday, Martin, of Longfield Road, admitted possessing the drug with intent to supply it to others.

"This is very much non-commercial supply of a class A drug," said Jacqui Baldwin, mitigating. "She has confirmed during a taped interview that she was the person who went to London to get drugs for a group of friends for a party."

The court decided she should be committed for sentence to Cambridge Crown Court, and she was given unconditional bail.

Martin has denied an allegation of the attempted theft of two £20 notes in Littleport on November 10. The date of her trial is due to be set on February 23.

Drunk burglar stole whisky from old people's community centre

DRUNKEN burglar James Butler broke into an old people's community room in Soham and helped himself to a bottle of whisky and a set of darts.

He had climbed through a broken window and left some blood behind - and forensic tests led to his arrest, Ely magistrates heard on Thursday.

Butler, 22, of Orchard Row, Soham, admitted committing the burglary at The Causeway Community Centre on December 8, and was given a one-year conditional discharge and told to pay £55 costs.

Butler had originally been charged with also stealing £400 in cash, a CD player, a DVD player and a video recorder in the burglary, but those items were later deleted from the charge.

"He was walking home and was quite drunk, and noticed the window of the building had been removed," said solicitor Adam Haselhurst. "He saw a chance and took it.

"He was not the person who removed the window. This was somewhat out of character, he feels very foolish and remorseful, it was clearly the wrong thing to do."

Presiding magistrate Bryant Watson told Butler: "Burglary is a serious charge, especially of a community centre where old people can be involved, that is very distressing if that is the case."

Mother hid drugs in her underwear

A MOTHER who stuffed drugs into her underwear when police raided a property in Little Downham has been given an 18-month conditional discharge by magistrates.

Zoe Newman - who has since beaten her drug habit - had earlier admitted possessing crack cocaine and heroin on November 5.

At an earlier hearing, Ely magistrates heard how police went to the front and rear of 26 Orchard Estate at Little Downham just before midnight.

Officers looked into the sitting room and saw Newman hiding the drugs. She later handed over a foil package that contained 0.2 grams crack cocaine, and less than 0.1 gram of heroin.

On Thursday, solicitor Adam Haselhurst said: "The drugs were not hers, but she was concealing them to protect others."

She was ordered to pay £20 costs.

Youth faces trial

SOHAM teenager Ricky Hewitt is to face trial on May 18, after denying that he caused criminal damage to two cars in the town on November 19.

Hewitt, 18, of Frederick Talbot Close, is alleged to have caused £660 worth of damage to Dominic Seims' Mazda MX5, and another £200 worth of damage to a Ford Ka belonging to Louise Sawford.

Ely magistrates gave him conditional bail on Thursday, ordering him to keep away from Foxwood South in Soham and not to contact the car owners.

Acting suspiciously

THIEF Danny Webb carefully chose an isolated spot to steal roll bars from a vehicle - but suspicious neighbours noticed him in Wardy Hill and alerted the police.

Webb, 20, of Hempfield Place, Littleport, had admitted stealing the bars worth £1,500 from John Fenner on August 24, and on Thursday, Ely magistrates gave him a 100-hour unpaid work order and told him to pay £55 costs. "Wardy Hill is an isolated village in the Fens, and you deliberately went there to steal from a vehicle," said presiding magistrate Bryant Watson.

Shoplifter fined

A TEENAGE visitor to Ely who stole two bottles of alcohol from the One Stop shop in High Street has been fined £80 with £10 costs.

Reece Reddington, 18, of Eltham, London, admitted the offence when he appeared before city magistrates on Thursday.

Man denies racism

LITTLEPORT man Paul Barrowclough has denied using racially-aggravated disorderly behaviour in the village on September 14 last year. Barrowclough, 36, of Parsons Lane, has also denied being disorderly on the same occasion. He is due to face trial at Ely Magistrates' Court on May 25.

Neighbours at war

TWO Sutton neighbours charged with using disorderly behaviour in the village had their case adjourned until March 2 by Ely magistrates on Thursday.

Robert Wheatley, 33, of 39 The Orchards, denied the offence, but Jacqueline Brown, 33, of 13 The Orchards, did not attend court to enter a plea.

Child assault denied

FORMER Ely man Dale Knappett has denied assaulting two children in Ely on July 26 last year. Knappett, 22, now living in King George Avenue, Exning, is due back before Ely magistrates on March 2 for a pre-trial review.