Man sentenced for sex offence

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A MAN has been sent to a secure psychiatric unit and added to the Sexual Offences Register after he carried out a sex attack on a nine-year-old boy.

Tony Hulbert, of Ipswich Street, Stowmarket, pleaded guilty to a charge of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity at Ipswich Crown Court on Tuesday.

He committed the offence as the boy walked home from the Kingfisher Leisure Centre, in Sudbury, on September 2 last year.

Hulbert, 41, had been seen ‘behaving oddly’ by the boy just moments before the attack, prosecutor Michael Crimp told the court.

Hulbert then caught up with the boy as he continued his walk home. He drew the boy’s attention to what he said was an injured bird in some nearby undergrowth and, as the boy looked for the bird, Hulbert grabbed him from behind, putting a hand over his mouth and made an indecent suggestion, said Mr Crimp.

The court heard how the boy became upset, started crying and told Hulbert: ‘Leave me alone. I’m only nine’.

Hulbert let go and the boy was able to run home. He was said to be ‘hysterical’ as he told his parents what had happened.

Mr Crimp said the boy was able to give police a detailed description of Hulbert’s clothing, including a jacket bearing a distinctive logo.

Details were immediately circulated and a police community support officer recognised the jacket as one regularly worn by Hulbert.

He was arrested the following day after the boy had been able to identify him, said Mr Crimp.

The court heard that the incident had a ‘profound effect’ on the young boy who now suffers from sleeplessness and takes a panic alarm with him when he goes out.

Sentencing Hulbert, Judge John Devaux, made him the subject of an order under the Mental Health Act detaining him at a secure unit. Hulbert, who appeared in the dock alongside four care workers, was placed on the Sexual Offences Register for seven years.

Judge Devaux said Hulbert had committed a similar offence in July 2004, when he approached a 13-year-old boy who he sexually assaulted.

An assessment indicated that Hulbert had borderline mental retardation and an interest in pre-pubescent boys, said the judge.