Blackpool: From the courts 07-12-16

Here is a round-up of some of the cases at Blackpool Magistrates Court from December 06.

Wednesday, 7th December 2016, 6:00 am
Blackpool Magistrates Court

Peter Beckett, 69, possession of indecent images of children

A drug prescribed to help a man to cope with Parkinson’s Disease had a side effect which led to him downloading indecent pictures of children.

A court heard had that addiction landed retired aerospace director in the dock after police raided his home.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Officers found indecent images on the laptop which belonged to Peter Beckett, 69, of Smithy House, Smithy Lane, Stalmine.

District Judge Jeff Brailsford heard Beckett plead guilty to downloading the images as his wife sat weeping in the public gallery.

His lawyer Trevor Colebourne told the court that experts had linked the doctor-prescribed drug Ropinrole that Beckett was taking to counter act Parkinson’s with compulsive hypersexual behaviour and an inability to control his moral values.

The lawyer said: “He should have told his medical team what was happening to him. However, the drug was helping him with the debilitating symptoms of Parkinson’s and he did not want to come off it.”

Pam Smith,prosecuting, said that police raided Smithy House and removed computer equipment and as they did so Beckett remarked: “I am not part of a ring or anything like that.”

She said that four images Becket had downloaded from the Internet showed girls with estimated ages between six and 15 in indecent poses.

In interview, Beckett said he had surfed the web for such material for ten years.

He tried to cover up his activity by deleting files and installing a shredder app on his lap top.

Beckett denied contacting any girls in person or sharing pictures with anyone.

He said he had investigated the drug he was on and had been told it caused his compulsive behaviour.

Mr Colebourne added: “The pharmaceutical side to this case is very unusual.

“It has been established that this type of drug causes hypersexual behaviour and lack of control.”

“Since he was charged he has come off it and his Parkinson’s has worsened.

“We have experts reports and whilst they do not amount to a defence of automatism there is strong mitigation that it has caused this elderly man’s bizarre behaviour and lack of concern for what he has been doing.

“One says it has removed the barrier preventing him going on line for this type of material – his coping mechanism has failed him.”

The judge told Beckett who walks with a stick: “I have read the documents in this case and do not accept a defence of automatism even though the drug may have caused compulsive sexual behaviour.”

He jailed Beckett for 20 weeks but suspended the term for two years. Beckett was placed on a three year Sexual Harm Prevention Order and must pay £585 costs.

Lanette Rawcliffe, 26, drink-driving

A mother-of-two who was more than twice over the alcohol limit said she was on her way to nursery to pick up her children a court was told.

Lanette Rawcliffe, 26, of Newhouse Road, Marton, pleaded guilty to drink-driving.

She was banned from the road for 20 months, fined £120 with £85 costs and ordered to pay £30 victims’ surcharge by magistrates.

Prosecutor, Martine Connah, said police saw Rawcliffe driving a Renault Megane on Newhouse Road with its bumper was hanging off, on November 11 at 3.15pm.

The prosecutor said when stopped Rawcliffe told police she was going to a nursery to pick up her children. A breath test showed 86 micrograms of alcohol in her body - 35 is the limit.

Peter Cave, defending, said Rawcliffe did not accept she said to the police officer she was on her way to the nursery. Her children were not due to be collected until 5pm.

Her bumper was hanging off because a taxi had hit her when it was going the wrong way down a one-way street.

The car had now been sold and Rawcliffe said she no longer wanted to drive.

Leon Miller, 19, theft

A teenager snatched a phone from a woman’s hand as she made a call at a bus stop and ran off with it.

Leon Miller, 19, of Kipling Drive, Blackpool, pleaded guilty to theft of an i-Phone valued at £700.

He was sentenced to a 12 weeks curfew from 9pm to 7am and ordered to pay £85 costs with £85 victims’ surcharge by Blackpool magistrates.

Prosecutor, Jim Mowbray, said a woman was making a call at a bus stop in Abingdon Street on October 20 at 1.15pm, when Miller grabbed her phone and fled, leaving her shocked.

He then went to a second hand shop and tried to sell the phone, but staff were suspicious. They took it off him and alerted the police.

Steven Townley, defending, said his client had mental health issues for which he took medication and his recollection of committing the offence was poor.

Leon, who also had problems with cannabis and legal highs, snatched the phone in a spur of the moment offence.

Steven Thew, 30, theft

A man with a heroin problem said he needed time in prison because he could no longer cope a court was told.

Steven Thew, 30, of Adelaide Street, Blackpool, pleaded guilty to theft of £43 worth of meat from Tesco Express.

He was sentenced to four weeks imprisonment and ordered to pay £115 victims’ surcharge by Blackpool magistrates. Prosecutor, Jim Mowbray, said Thew was seen taking meat at the Whitegate Drive store on November 13. He tried to escape but was detained down the road by two staff members.

Brett Chappell, defending, told magistrates that Thew’s life had been blighted by heroin and he had declared he needed time away in prison as he could not cope.

At the time of the offence Thew was back on heroin, had lost his accommodation and his benefits had been suspended.