Convicted sex offender Andrew Ryland from Christchurch caught "lurking" and "peering" into student flat windows, Bournemouth Crown Court hears
A CONVICTED sex offender from Christchurch was caught "lurking" and "peering" into the house of two young female students, a court heard.
One of the victims was having a shower when Andrew Ryland (34), stared into the property, but it was thought she was protected by the frosted bathroom window, Bournemouth Crown Court heard.
Ryland was seen by neighbours of the two victims, who were both at home, "lurking" one evening outside their house in March this year, prosecutor Pureet Grewal said.
"He was peering through the window with his hands cupped around his face," she added. "His hand then went down towards his crotch area."
One neighbour challenged him and Ryland claimed to live there but was resistant to knock on the door, making excuses to go to a shop nearby before disappearing.
The neighbour told the two girls in the property and one of them took a picture of the number plate on Ryland’s car, which enabled police to track him down.
When Ryland was arrested at his home address at Drake Close, officers seized his electronic devices but found no videos.
Ms Grewal outlined that at the time Ryland was the subject of a three-year community order he had been given for making indecent images of children.
In relation to the latest matter, the court heard Ryland had pleaded not guilty to one count of attempting to observe a person doing a private act to obtain sexual gratification and stood trial – and was convicted by a jury. He admitted breaching the community order.
Defending, Clare Dowse explained her client remained adamant of his innocence but pointed to a number of points made in probation pre-sentence report.
That included Ryland would benefit from undertaking the "arduous" Horizon programme which aims to counter-act sex offenders’ thinking.
He had not yet started that as part of his existing community order, she said. If sent to prison or given a suspended sentence, he would not be able to do the Horizon programme, since it takes up to three years to complete, she highlighted.
The better protection of the public would be enabled by Ryland doing the Horizon programme, so it would be preferable for Ryland to be given a community order, she argued.
Sentencing, Mr Recorder Oba Nsugbe QC agreed and handed Ryland a three-year community order and told him to complete Horizon. He also gave him a six-month curfew for 7pm to 7am.
Ryland must also sign the sex offenders register for five years and pay £3,595 worth of court charges.
Judge Msugbe said Ryland’s defence at trial had been "frankly incredible" and it was "unfortunate" that he maintained his innocence, although that was his right.