Dwarf dodges jail over sex charge
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."