Sex offender back behind bars again

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A SEX offender is back behind bars after breaching an order aimed at protecting children.

Former Hartlepool man Graham Thornhill was banned from having contact with under-18s as a result of a 2002 conviction.

Thornhill, 50, was jailed for two-and-a-half years after he was found guilty following a trial of three counts of sexual assault and one of gross indecency with a child.

Last year the former van driver was made the subject of a Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO) designed to protect the public.

Teesside Crown Court heard on Tuesday that he later breached the order by deliberately having contact with children.

A report by a probation worker concluded that Thornhill still posed a high risk to youngsters.

Mr Recorder Cox jailed him for 18 months after Thornhill, now of Walton Court, Stockton, admitted two charges of breaching the order.

Passing sentence, the judge told him: “The sentences must send out a clear message to you that you must abide by the orders of this court. They must also send out a message to the general public that orders such as these – which serve a very important purpose – must be complied with.”