Paedophiles walk free because of NoW exposure

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The Independent Online

Two convicted paedophiles walked free from courts yesterday after their lawyers argued that they had already been punished by the impact of the News of the World's "name and shame" campaign.

Two convicted paedophiles walked free from courts yesterday after their lawyers argued that they had already been punished by the impact of the News of the World's "name and shame" campaign.

In Manchester, Raymond Cullens, 51, escaped a jail sentence after the judge said the publicity had created "exceptional circumstances" under which he had suffered. Judge Stuart Fish told Cullens, 51, a former teacher who has now been twice tried and convicted for the abuse of pupils, that publicity had made him a "marked man".

Sentencing Cullens at Manchester Crown Court to a 15-month suspended prison term, Judge Fish said: "You and your family have suffered considerable adverse publicity, although of course it has to be said you are the author of your own misfortune."

Cullens's name and photograph were published in the second week of the News of the World campaign as he awaited sentencing for sexually assaulting one of his former pupils, Kim Hawksworth, who is now 22.

Graham Bebb, for the defence, told the court: "[Cullens's] wife, who has supported him throughout, has felt unable to go on with her local employment because of what is now known about her husband."

Cullens, a church lay reader, was a year-four form tutor and school football referee when he molested eight-year-old pupils. He was jailed for 30 months in 1992 for four offences of indecent assault and three of indecency with children at Bullogh Moor Primary School in Heywood, near Rochdale, where he taught. On his release, he moved 300 miles away to Upton Poole in Dorset, where he was rearrested last year after Ms Hawksworth - his fourth victim - came forward.

Ms Hawksworth, a witness support worker who has waived her right to anonymity, said the sentence was "disgraceful". She said: "I have spent 14 years serving this sentence and he walks out of court a free man."

In a second case yesterday an 82-year-old Dunkirk veteran was put on two years' probation for indecently assaulting a nine-year-old girl after Newcastle Crown Court was told he had been forced out of his lifelong home in Embleton, Northumberland, because of the climate surrounding paedophiles.

Judge David Wood told Charles Varnham he was escaping jail because of his previous good record and the fact that he had lost his home which "seems punishment itself".

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