A PERVERT accused of having an unhealthy interest in sleeping teenage girls and trying to molest one as she slept in a Wigan Infirmary bed has dramatically changed his pleas.
Leon Ridgeway was on trial at Liverpool Crown Court denying four offences but during the prosecution case against him he tearfully pleaded guilty to them all.
The 29-year-old is now to return in the new year after a pre-sentence report is prepared and when he returns all sentencing options will be open.
Judge Clement Goldstone, QC, the Recorder of Liverpool, told Ridgeway: “I don’t know if you need help or punishment.”
He further remanded him on bail until January 11 with conditions including a curfew between 11pm and 7am with an electronic tag.
The jury had heard how Ridgeway, of Glebe Street, Leigh, dressed in a Superman onesie had repeatedly peered through the hospital bedside curtains surrounding a 14-year-old girl and had been searching on the internet for “sleep assault.”
Ridgeway also went into her cubicle and lifted the blanket covering her stomach, believing she was asleep, but when she opened her eyes he left.
When his mobile phone was later further analysed it was found to contain photographs he had taken of another 15-year-old sleeping girl after moving her underwear.
Ridgeway has now admitted attempting to sexually assault the hospital patient on the evening of May 1, sexually assaulting the other girl and two offences of taking indecent photographs.
Sarah Holt, prosecuting, said that the 14-year-old was in the children’s ward at the Wigan Royal Albert and Edward Infirmary for treatment for an eating disorder and as Ridgeway’s young step-child was in the same bay he stayed overnight there.
The girl, frightened by his behaviour, sent a Facebook message to a friend for help and she suggested she write a note for staff. She did this on a paper towel and handed it to a nurse who knew who she meant as Ridgeway had been aware of him walking around through the night. The social services and the police were notified, said Miss Holt.
His mobile phone was seized and it was found that on eight separate occasions he had searched on the internet for “sleep assault” and “sister sleep assault.” It was also found to have four photographs on it of a 15-year-old girl in which she was asleep and her underwear had been moved.
Ridgeway told police that someone else must have been responsible for the photographs on his phone, which was used by others.
“He said he had never seen the indecent photographs before and thought they were an absolute disgrace.” Ridgeway admitted searching porn sites but said he had never heard of ‘sleep assault.’ He said he could not remember searching for it but “must have done it.”
His change of plea to the four charges came after the 14-year-old girl and nurse had given evidence and an expert then told the court that Ridgeway had Googled ‘sleep assault’ while in the hospital that night.