An attacker who ‘robbed children of their childhoods’ has avoided prison due to a loophole, meaning his maximum time behind bars would only be a ‘matter of weeks’.
Former Hartlepool man Steven Kelsey, 63, was sentenced at Teesside Crown Court on Friday for offenses committed decades ago when he was a teenager.
But the court heard that due to the historic nature of the crimes, Kelsey could have faced a maximum of six months in jail, as that was the maximum sentence for the offenses at the time.
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Judge Christopher Smith said such a short sentence would not have reflected the crimes committed by Kelsey and said the case was one of the most tragic he had ever heard.
But the judge said he was in a difficult position as the six-month prison sentence would likely have ended after just a few weeks and there would be a lack of supervision after his release, Lincolnshire reports live
Kelsey, of Canwick Road, Lincoln, pleaded guilty to multiple counts of child sexual abuse and received a three-year community order with supervision and 30 days of rehabilitation, a 10-day sexual abuse prevention order years and a victim restraining order.
There were three victims of Kelsey’s crimes.
Judge Smith said: ‘It’s understandable each of them feels like they’ve been robbed of their childhood by you.
One of the victims said Kelsey ‘robbed her of her sanity’, while another said she was in severe psychological distress.
Sentencing Kelsey, Justice Smith said: “Your case concerns your own crimes committed by yourself when you were a teenager.
“If you were a teenager you would go to jail for a while, but that wasn’t the case in the 1970s. As unfair as it may seem to an outside observer, I have to follow the law as it was. so.”
He said the prison sentence he would be allowed to give Kelsey was equal to that of someone “involved in a shoplifting or a punch on a Friday night”.