Convicted rapist who slept rough in Exmouth is spared jail now he lives at religious rehab

PUBLISHED: 13:22 26 March 2018

Exeter Crown Court. Ref exeter crown court

Exeter Crown Court. Ref exeter crown court

Archant

Convicted rapist Joseph Norton, who was sleeping rough in Exmouth and failed to tell police where he was, has spared jail because he is now living at a Christian community in Devon.

A homeless sex offender living rough in Exmouth who broke the terms of the register by not telling police where he was living has been spared a jail sentence.

A judge at Exeter Crown Court showed mercy on convicted rapist Joseph Norton after learning he is now living at a Christian community in Devon.

The court was told how Norton broke the order by failing to tell police of his location every seven days while he was living rough in Exmouth, Exeter and East Devon in July last year.

Norton, aged 34, now of the Eagle Community at Bratton Fleming, Barnstaple, admitted failing to comply with the sex offenders register and was jailed for a year, suspended for 18 months, by Judge David Evans.

The judge told him: “You had no fixed abode but were required to notify the police of your whereabouts every seven days. You knew perfectly well what your obligations were.

“You must seize the opportunity of having a residence at the Eagle Community. It gives you a realistic possibility of rehabilitation.”

The judge ordered Norton to stay at Eagle for a year and undertake 35 days of rehabilitation activities with the probation service.

Mr Gordon Richings, prosecuting, said Norton has 14 convictions for failing to comply with the register and had been jailed for 12 months on the last two occasions.

Mr Brian Fitzherbert, defending, said there was a positive report from Norton’s supervising officer which recommended he should remain at the community in North Devon.

Norton has been on the Sex Offenders Register since he was convicted of three rapes and detained for three years at Liverpool Crown Court in 2000 when he had just turned 17.

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