Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 July 2014

Dwarf dodges jail over sex charge

Nicholas Read arrives at Leicester Crown Court

A dwarf who appeared in the Harry Potter and Star Wars films has dodged a short spell behind bars for indecently exposing himself to a teenager on a train.

Former pantomime star Nicholas Read, who played an Ewok in Return Of The Jedi, was given a suspended 20-week jail term after a judge said it would offer the best opportunity for rehabilitation.

Read, of Wade Close, Cheadle, north Staffordshire, was convicted of indecent exposure last month after a 17-year-old girl told Leicester Crown Court how the actor performed a sex act under the cover of a juggler's hat.

The celebrity was shown mercy by Recorder Richard Bond despite having previous convictions for sexual offences, including an incident in which he clambered into the bed of a stage manager and his girlfriend.

The 40-year-old's previous convictions also included a series of "random" and explicit phone calls made to women from a hotel room as long ago as 1995.

Passing sentence, Mr Bond said: "A relatively short sentence of imprisonment will not help you, and it certainly will not protect the public from your fantasies.

"I have had to ask myself this question: is this a case where not just you, but more importantly, the public would benefit from you receiving a short custodial sentence? The answer to that is no."

The judge imposed two specific requirements on Read, which mean he must be supervised by the Probation Service and undertake a community sex offender group work programme.

Read, who must also pay £500 towards the cost of his prosecution, was arrested last October after "trapping" his victim in a window seat on a train travelling between London and Leicester.

Offering mitigation on Read's behalf, defence barrister Nigel Hamilton said his client had been involved with pantomimes since the age of 16, earning a weekly wage of up to £800. Mr Hamilton told the court: "He will not be able to do that anymore - he has had cancellations left, right and centre."

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