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Man loses legal battle to get '24-hour notice' Sexual Risk Order lifted

Published 19/08/2016

John O'Neill has an interim Sexual Risk Order against him.
John O'Neill has an interim Sexual Risk Order against him.

A man who had to give police 24 hours' notice before he has sex with a new partner has lost his legal battle to have the restriction lifted.

John O'Neill, 45, lost his case after North Yorkshire Police argued he posed a risk to the public and should be subject to a Sexual Risk Order, despite him being acquitted of rape last year.

York Magistrates' Court heard he made a series of worrying confessions to his GP and a psychiatric nurse, including choking a woman unconscious, thinking "a lot" about killing her and that he needed women "to be scared or I don't respond".

District Judge Adrian Lower said the terms of the order will be amended at a future hearing.

He said the condition that he gives the police 24 hours' notice before he starts sexual contact with a new partner was "frankly unpoliceable".

The new terms of the order will be agreed at a hearing on September 22.

Earlier, the court heard that despite Mr O'Neill being cleared of rape at Teesside Crown Court in November, Judge Simon Bourne-Arton said after the jury was dismissed: "Please could you inform the authorities that although this man has been acquitted, it is my judgment that he is a very dangerous individual."

North Yorkshire Police then applied for the order on the basis of comments the single father-of-two allegedly made to his GP and a nurse in 2014.

Mr O'Neill, an IT consultant who says he cannot work due to the terms of the order and has been living rough in a wood outside York, says his words were misunderstood.

Dr Miriam Hodgson recorded that his "sex life has become violent, has been seeking out increasingly extreme sexual experiences, biting, choking, cutting, burning".

He and a woman discussed rape and six months later he put the "plan" into action and left the woman bruised.

The GP wrote: "Thinks he may have raped someone, it went further than she expected."

Mr O'Neill also told her he thought about killing the partner "a lot" and "has choked her unconscious several times", the court heard.

The GP also recorded that her patient had tried to kill himself by starving himself, dehydrating, crossing the road without looking and getting into fights with gangs of men.

She wrote: "Patient thinks he is dangerous and needs to be stopped."

Judge Lower said: "I have become increasingly concerned with Mr O'Neill's evidence during the course of the day.

"I found him to be a vain, manipulative and grandstanding individual who seeks to persuade me that black is in fact white and used the valuable time of professionals to describe sexual fantasies he may or may not have."

He displayed a "narcissistic streak" and the judge was troubled by what he may do or say to others.

However, the judge queried the terms of the order and said they will be revisited.

After the case, North Yorkshire Police said: "The judge has made it very clear that he believes Mr O'Neill poses a risk of sexual harm, and that it is right to have an order against him in place.

"It is of paramount importance for North Yorkshire Police to protect the public from the risk of sexual harm.

"We will work with the courts to agree suitable prohibitions that will protect the public from the risk Mr O'Neill poses."

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