A convicted sex offender used a laptop borrowed from a neighbour to read vile child sex abuse short stories.

Paul Govier, 40, who in 2010 was jailed for more than five years for sexually assaulting a girl, had failed to tell police about the borrowed laptop and had also deleted his internet browser history.

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Both were breaches of a court order originally imposed in 2010 and designed to limit his unfettered access to the internet.

Oxford Crown Court heard the offending came to light when a police officer from Thames Valley’s public protection unit made a routine visit to Govier’s home in October.

He noticed the laptop and asked Govier about the computer. He made admissions there and then, but claimed he did not realise he had to register the laptop with the police as it was borrowed from the neighbour.

The constable noted that the visibly emotional defendant was ‘trembling’ after he was arrested and read his rights.

Govier, of Banbury Court, Abingdon, pleaded guilty at the magistrates’ court late last year to two counts of breaching the sexual harm prevention order. He had just one previous conviction, although his record also showed a caution from more than 15 years ago for voyeurism. 

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Mitigating, Emma Hornby said her client ‘didn’t want’ to be in prison and, because the prison service was not sure how long he would be inside on remand, he had not been able to undertake courses or training for jobs on the wing.

“He wants to seek help for the difficulties he faces,” she added. The probation service would be able to offer him that help, the judge was told.

Sentencing, Judge Maria Lamb said: “You have an unenviable record in the sense that you have a serious previous conviction in 2010 for which this sexual harm prevention order was imposed.

“I have no hesitation in saying that the offences which you have committed fall within section 2A of the relevant guidelines, which means there is a starting point here of two years’ custody with a range of 36 weeks to three years’ custody.”

However, she suspended the 14 month prison sentence for two years, telling Govier: “I do think there is some prospect, maybe a realistic prospect, of rehabilitation. Not least because you have now served in custody some two and a half months.”

As part of his suspended sentence order, Govier must complete 120 hours of unpaid work, up to 30 rehabilitation activity requirement days and a sex offender treatment programme.

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This story was written by Tom Seaward. He joined the team in 2021 as Oxfordshire's court and crime reporter.  

To get in touch with him email: Tom.Seaward@newsquest.co.uk

Follow him on Twitter: @t_seaward