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Sex offender acted as referee for children playing football in the street | #childpredator | #kidsaftey | #childsaftey

A man banned from coming into contact with children acted as referee for a game of football among kids outside his house, showing one of them a sexual gesture. Brian Tapper, a registered sex offender, was subject to a sexual harm prevention order which was imposed in February this year for a period of ten years, with a condition including no unsupervised contact with a child under the age of 16 unless inadvertent or unavoidable.

Cardiff Crown Court heard how Tapper, from the Newport area, lives next door to neighbours who have young children, and knew him as ‘Brian next door’, without having any previous knowledge of his criminal record. On July 18, two of the children had been playing football outside the house of Tapper, who was himself outside acting as a referee for their game and communicating with the boys. The parents only became aware something was wrong when Tapper told his probation officer that he had performed the role for their game.

He, his neighbours and the children were all spoken to as part of a subsequent investigation, and one of the children, whilst being told they were to have nothing to do with Tapper, stated that the 56-year-old had “shown him a funny gesture” which was later found to be sexual in nature when described. Tapper, from Newport, was arrested in relation to the offence and gave a ‘no comment’ interview at the police station to all questions asked of him. Get the latest court cases sent to your email inbox with our Crime & Punishment newsletter.

Tapper appeared at Cardiff Crown Court for sentencing having pleaded guilty to breaching the condition of the order. Ben Waters, for Tapper, said: “The defendant says it is the children who asked him to referee. He wholly should not have agreed to the request as it puts him in breach of his sexual harm prevention order. The defendant, perhaps through a lack of intelligence, at the time didn’t think what he was doing was particularly wrong, but he has to accept that he knew the conditions of his order as he had been subject to it for a long time. He was unable to articulate a reason for the gesture.”

Her honour judge Lucy Crowther, sentenced Tapper to 24 months in prison. She told him: “I do consider this a serious breach. You were engaging with children on a personal level who were then able to report you were showing them gestures which we all know was of a sexual nature.”

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