Sex offender disappeared off police radar ‘after being bullied’

Wigan and Leigh Magistrates Court
Wigan and Leigh Magistrates Court

A convicted sex offender disappeared from his lodgings after he was bullied by fellow residents, magistrates heard.

John Joseph Battersby made himself homeless rather than put himself at the mercy of his tormentors, the Wigan and Leigh court was told.

But when Battersby, 49, as a registered sex offender, did not sign in with police, an investigation was launched.

Defence solicitor Danielle Gibbons said her client had been living in a supported flat in Charles Street.

She told magistrates that Battersby had been “bullied” by fellow residents and forced to hand over money he barely had, so he had decided to effectively make himself homeless.

Miss Gibbons said he failed to notify police of his whereabouts “for a relatively short period of time”.

He had also not committed any offences during that period, which was one of the primary reasons for the sexual offences prevention order he had been issued with.

Battersby was now being offered support by a homeless charity, she added.

Battersby, who gave his address in court as Low Wood, Leigh, pleaded guilty to failing to meet notification requirements as a registered sex offender.

Magistrates imposed a six-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months and ordered him to complete 25 days of rehabilitation activity requirement days with the probation service, as well as paying a £115 victim surcharge.

The court heard Battersby had three previous convictions for failing to notify police and had served an 18-week prison sentence in 2014 for similar matters.

Alan Bakker, prosecuting, said when police turned up at Battersby’s lodgings, on November 13, they were told by one of the directors that the defendant had not lived there for some time and they were in the processing of reletting his flat.

He told magistrates that Battersby had 48 convictions for 70 previous offences. His last appearance before the courts was when he was fined for a public order charge in January.