Convicted sex offender in court for using a different name

A court has heard how a convicted sex offender used a different name on a social media account without telling police.
A court has heard how a convicted sex offender used a different name on a social media account without telling police.
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A convicted sex offender, said to "fantasise" about a small child, used an Instagram account under a different name without telling police, a court heard.

Benjamin Mitchell (27) who used an email address in the name of Jason Harris, was caught after he was talking to a young woman on the site and told her he had been sexually active with the youngster.

She called officers and an investigation started.

The hearing was told Mitchell was on the sex offenders' register and had to inform the police within three days if he used any other name.

When he was questioned by officers, he admitted using a different name, claimed he had set the account up when he was 14 and said he had been hearing voices in his head and they were telling him to use the Jason Harris address.

Mitchell, who is autistic, could now be facing jail, after admitting failing to comply with the notification requirements of the register, between Sunday, November 19th and Thursday, January 25th.

When asked for his plea by the legal adviser, Mitchell had replied: "Guilty, but I can't remember using it."

The defendant, of Belvedere Road, Burnley, was bailed until Thursday, March 8th, for an all options open pre- sentence report.

He has just started a sexual offenders' programme and his claim about the child was said by the probation service to be " nothing more than a sexual fantasy."

Mrs Tracy Yates, prosecuting, said in April last year, at Burnley Crown Court, Mitchell was convicted of three counts of making an indecent image of a child, possession of an indecent image of a child and possession of an extreme image. He had received a three-year community order and had been placed on the sex offenders' register for 10 years.

The prosecutor said when Mitchell was informed by the young woman on Instagram she intended to contact the police he then proceeded to block her. Police carried out inquiries and the defendant was arrested.

Mrs Yates added: "He said he had been struggling with voices in his head. He had not been taking his medication as the voices told him to stop taking it."

Stuart Kaufman, defending Mitchell, said: " He has Asperger's Syndrome as well as voices in his head. He is supposed to be seeing the people from Minds Matter in the near future. "

The solicitor told the court the defendant had been diagnosed with anxiety and depression, but the voices were "indicative of something serious going on."

Mr Kaufman added: "He is very lightly convicted.

"No actual harm was committed and he does seem to have a problem that needs to be dealt with."