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'Dangerous' child abuser jailed after a child seat was spotted in his car

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: August 28, 2014

Exeter Crown Court

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A DANGEROUS child abuser has been jailed after he defied an order to stay away from children by befriending a couple with a young family.

Daniel Hall was arrested after police monitoring him in South Molton spotted a child seat in the back of his car and discoverer he had been giving lifts to the two boys and two girls.

Hall, aged 55, is a high risk sex offender who moved to Devon after completing a four and a half year jail term for abusing two boys who he picked up at a seaside amusement arcade.

He was subject of a Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO) which banned him from unsupervised contact with children, being in the company of a child for more than 15 minutes and loitering near schools.

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The mother of the four children, who are all aged under ten, had no idea about his background and was horrified when she learned the truth from the police, Exeter Crown Court was told.

Hall, formerly of Barnstaple Street, South Molton, but now homeless and living rough in Barnstaple, admitted breaching a SOPO and was jailed for 16 months by Judge Erik Salomonsen. He ordered him to sign on the sex offenders’ register for life.

The judge told him: “You had contact with these children for a considerable period of time in clear breach of the order. I have no doubt the police monitoring you made it entirely clear what it said.

“The probation officer who prepared the pre-sentence report considers you to present a continuing high risk to children and says supervision would consist merely of monitoring.

“I have to have regard for the protection of children and the risk you pose to them and might indeed have posed to these children if you had not been arrested.”

Laura Searle, for the prosecution, said Hall was subject to a SOPO because he was jailed for four-and-a-half years at Bristol Crown Court in 2007 for sexually assaulting two boys aged eight and nine after offering them sweets at a seaside arcade in Weston-Super-Mare.

He was released twice while serving his sentence but recalled on each occasion because police who were monitoring him were concerned he posed a risk to the public.

On one occasion he was observed hanging around outside a school and on the other he was found with a knife, duct tape and a child’s bicycle.

He moved to South Molton, where he was being monitored by a multi-agency team until police became suspicious of his behaviour this summer.

Miss Searle said the police officer who visited him noticed a child seat in the back of his car. He claimed it was there when he bought the vehicle but further inquiries showed this was a lie.

The police traced a couple with four children living in South Molton who Hall had befriended about six months earlier.

She said he made regular trips to their home and brought beer for the parents and sweets for the children and offered to help with the school and nursery runs.

The mother said the children had never been alone with Hall but another neighbour said she had seen two boys in his car unsupervised.

Miss Searle said: “Hall told the mother he had been to prison for a violent offence but she did not know his true past and said he would not have been welcomed at the address if she had.”

Hall has a string of convictions going back to 1985 and has sexually assaulted boys aged eight to ten on four different occasions.

David Sapiecha, for the defence, said Hall is keen to work with a Christian centre in Barnstaple and to receive support from the probation service to reduce his risk level.

He said: “He is a man who has become isolated from society and if he goes back to prison he will come out without support. He says he did not think about the SOPO when he met this family and his only interest was in friendship.”

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