November 2011

Westfield ban for paedophile caught watching kids at play

A PAEDOPHILE has been banned from Derby’s Westfield Centre after he was caught watching youngsters in the children’s play area.

Terence Mason, who had previously been jailed for molesting a five-year-old girl, admitted sitting close to the shopping centre’s play zone “on 10 or 11 occasions”. Mason was then living in Ashbourne at the time of the offence.

The 65-year-old, of St Mary’s Wharf, Derby, pleaded guilty to breaching an order banning him from going within 50 metres of a children’s play area, following his release from prison in July.

Derby Crown Court heard that he was arrested following complaints that he had been seen near the centre’s play area.

Laura Pitman, prosecuting, told the court: “In a police interview, he first said that where he would sit (in the Westfield Centre) he could not see the children’s play area.

“But then he accepted he would go to the centre to watch children.

“He said the children he was more interested in were aged between five and 13 and that he preferred to look at children about to go through puberty.”

Mason, formerly of Northcliffe Road, Ashbourne, was jailed for three years in March 2009 after sexually assaulting a five-year-old girl and forcing her to touch him inappropriately.

The offence took place at his Ashbourne home on July 31, 2008. He had pleaded guilty to two counts of causing or inciting a sexual act with a child under the age of 13.

At the time, he was given a sexual offenders’ prevention order for life, banning him from being in the company of children.

For his latest offence of breaching that order, Judge Andrew Hamilton handed Mason a community and supervision order lasting three years.

He also changed parts of the order – including extending the distance he was to be allowed near children aged under 16 to 100m. And he was banned from entering Westfield.

Judge Hamilton said: “I am prohibiting you from entering the Westfield Centre in Derby and I do that for your own protection and the protection of other people.

“With the publicity that is bound to come from this court appearance, someone might see an elderly gentleman innocently sitting in Westfield and come to the conclusion that it is you.

“Stop carrying out these observations (of children). It is quite disgusting.”

Rebecca Wrack, for Mason, said that her client was “trying to address the root of his problem”.

She said: “He did not intend to act on his thoughts and feelings (he had for the children).

“But he accepts he has to work to acknowledge he has to remove himself from situations where he might breach his order.”