Estate agent acted like a ‘sexual pest’

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An estate agent and charity worker who sexually assaulted two young women has been told to “hang his head in shame” after being placed on the Sex Offenders’ Register for five years.

Raymond Buckley, 61, who runs HeadWay Lettings and Sales in Thornton, pleaded guilty to three offences of sexual assault.

The judge dealing with his case, Recorder Benjamin Nolan said: “You are now a registered sex offender. Just let that sink in. You should hang your head in shame”.

Preston Crown Court heard how Buckley, of Shaw Green, Thornton, touched the females sexually over their clothing.

Louise Whaites, prosecuting, said Buckley had touched and groped the two women in separate incidents, acting as a sexual pest when he ought to have known better.

When interviewed by police, he denied any sexual impropriety.

Both victims had made impact statements to the court describing the distress and humiliation that they felt because of his behaviour.

In passing sentence, Judge Nolan added: “You knew full well that this was wrong, and you knew that it was likely to cause the kind of reaction which in fact it did.

“So far as the victims are concerned, these offences cannot be minimised.

“I have no doubt you have old-fashioned attitudes to this sort of offending behaviour, which in part is the cause of it.

“Those attitudes needed to change.”

A number of references on behalf of Buckley were handed in for the judge to consider.

Julie Taylor, defending, said he had been in a “bad place” at the time of the offences.

She added: “Ordinarily he is a hard-working, law-abiding citizen who does his best within the local community to run his business and support local charities.

“At this period in his life he was going through the breakdown of a long-term relationship, and his business was suffering.

“While this is no excuse for his behaviour, it perhaps puts into context how he found himself to be behaving in this highly inappropriate manner, when he is a man who ought to have known better.”

The barrister said Buckley would not appear in court in future and had been assessed as being at a low risk of re-offending.

“He is sorry for his actions. It has been a lesson learned.

“He understands the position now and how his behaviour may have affected these ladies”, added Miss Taylor.

The defendant, who was said to have significant health problems, was sentenced to two years’ court supervision, ordered to carry out 120 hours’ unpaid work for the community and pay each victim £1,500 in compensation.