Burly sex offender freed despite breaching cross-dressing ban
A BURLY sex offender who poses a danger to women when he wears female clothes has been freed today - despite his latest breach of a ban on cross-dressing.
Last month David Harris, 45, was convicted by a jury of flouting a sexual offences prevention order by going out at night in a knee-length red dress and blonde wig.
But on Wednesday, March 6, a judge decided to free Harris even though he was also in breach of a suspended jail sentence for a previous cross-dressing offence.
At Gloucester crown court Judge Jamie Tabor QC said he was faced with either locking Harris up for 4-5 years or deferring sentence on him to see if he will tackle his fetish with help from the probation service and a psychiatrist.
The judge deferred sentence on Harris for six months with an 8pm-6am and told him to 'lower the drawbridge' on his psyche so that he can be helped with his problems.
At Harris' trial last month the jury was told that his neighbour Mark Clark saw him outside their homes in Hilltop close, Stroud, Glos, dressed as a woman at 3am on June 23 last year.
There were dozens of bras hanging off Harris' black Fiat Uno car and on his washing line.
Harris was found guilty of breaking the sexual offences prevention order made in 2004 which prevents him wearing female clothes, shoes and accessories in public between 9pm and 6am.
The order followed two sexual assaults on teenagers in 1998, while he was wearing ladies' clothing.
Last year's offence was the fifth time he had breached the order.
His solicitor Andrew Hobson said Harris would welcome a curfew being placed on him because it would be an effective deterrent to him going out at night dressed as a woman.
"The curfew seems to be something he understands - he has a relatively low IQ," said Mr Hobson.
Judge Tabor said he was concerned that Harris does not appear to know what motivates him to dress in female clothing. Whenever psychiatrists got near finding out Harris would 'pull up the drawbridge,' he said.
"I either lock him up for as long as I can or I see how he gets on on a one-to-basis with the probation service and gets some help with his very troubled psyche," said Judge Tabor.
"He is a unusual man. He is not someone with gay characteristics dressing up for the sake of it. When he dresses up in ladies clothes he is quite clearly a man in those clothes. He has been doing it since he was a little boy.
"We know he committed very serious sexual offences many years ago but there has not been a repeat of it."
The judge asked Harris to stand in the dock and give him an assurance that he would co-operate if sentence was deferred.
"Deep inside your head there are things which you are very reluctant to talk about. It is going to require you to talk about them so you can understand yourself. Are you prepared to do that?"
Harris said he was.
Deferring sentence till September 5, Judge Tabor told him "You have this desire to dress up in womens clothing. You don't want to be a woman - you are not a woman trapped in a man's body. Quite the reverse.
"You are a man and you are a heterosexual according to the psychiatric report but you are in my judgement deeply troubled.
"You yourself don't understand why you have this desire. If you will forgive me, you don't look anything like a woman when you put female clothes on.
"All sentences have been tried with you and failed. You have told me today you are prepared to co-operate and open your mind and explain some of the things which are in there."