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Reading Magistrates' Court: Child sex offender stalked woman from fake Facebook account

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A CHILD sex offender set up a bogus Facebook account to continue stalking a woman.

The 44-year-old had denied the latest offence.

And he swore angrily at the district judge who convicted him - on "overwhelming" evidence - of breaking a restraining order designed to protect his victim.

Court (54254378)
Court (54254378)

Sean Blandford has previously been jailed for inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and breaching a restraining order.

He also has numerous previous convictions and on Tuesday, January 11, was back in the dock at Reading Magistrates' Court, where he denied his latest restraining order breach.

Blandford, formerly of Orchard Court, Thatcham, now lives in Freemans Close, Hungerford.

Megan Hill, prosecuting, said Mr Blandford set up a Facebook account using the name Robert Bruce to contact his victim, an adult woman who is supposedly protected from him by the court order.

When 'Robert Bruce' began dropping heavy hints as to his true identity, the victim contacted police, the court heard.

Forensic analysis showed the social media account was set up using an electronic portal and router which was traced back to his address, said Ms Hill.

When police initially arrived at his home to question him, the court was told, Blandford told officers: "I've been expecting this."

Ms Hill said Blandford nevertheless vehemently denied sending the messages to his victim.

When police pointed out that the social media account had been traced to his home address, he became "very agitated and angry," insisting that was impossible, she added.

Giving evidence, Blandford again insisted that the forensic analysis which traced the messages to his address could not be correct - because he had simply not sent them.

He said: "Somewhere along the line there has been a mistake. I want nothing to do with that person."

Blandford added that he had done his own research that suggested a different electronic router was registered at his address.

Tom Brymer, defending, said his client "couldn't have done anything more to assist the police" and had handed over 20 electronic devices for them to interrogate.

Not one of them contained evidence of the offending Facebook messages, he added.

Mr Brymer suggested that Vodafone, who had handed police information which allowed them to trace the online account to Blandford's address, could have made a mistake.

But district judge Kathryn Verghis said the victim had given "clear and cogent evidence" against Blandford.

She told him: "I don't find your account plausible. I reject your evidence."

Judge Verghis said the case against Blandford was "overwhelming" and she found him guilty.

Blandford, who had repeatedly tried to interrupt her, then swore at the court while loudly protesting his innocence of any wrongdoing.

Ms Hill then told judge Verghis that, given the range and nature of Blandford's relevant previous convictions, his latest offending "crosses the custody threshold".

Judge Verghis replied that "given the history and deliberate nature of these matters, I'm not going to rule anything out at this stage."

She ordered pre-sentence reports to be prepared on an 'all options' basis, including custody.

Blandford, although still on the Sex Offenders Register and still subject to the restraining order, was meanwhile granted unconditional bail.

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