Grimsby man spotted touching and kissing teenage boy
TWO eagle-eyed witnesses have been rewarded for their "public spirit" after they alerted police when they spotted a man touching and kissing a teenage boy in a parked car.
They were so worried they followed the car and kept police posted about where it was going, Hull Crown Court heard.
Martin Harness, 67, of Tennyson House, Grimsby, admitted sexual activity with a boy under 16 on August 4, 2010, and July 16 last year.
Richard Woolfall, prosecuting, told Hull Crown Court Harness, pictured, had already known the boy for several years when they bumped into each other.
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Harness pushed the teenager against a wall, kissed him on the lips as the boy tried to push him away and later ran off.
Harness later became a friend of the boy's family, after which the two eyewitnesses spotted Harness apparently engaging in sexual activity while they were inside a parked car near a shopping centre.
The witnesses, mother-of-six Sharon Thompson and her friend, Elliott Cox, were so alarmed they alerted the police and followed the pair after Harness drove away with the boy still inside the vehicle.
They kept the police updated with the car's whereabouts and officers stopped the vehicle, said Mr Woolfall.
The first offence came to light during the investigation.
Mr Woolfall said Miss Thompson had been left very upset and depressed by the incident and so there were in effect two victims of the offences.
Patrick Palmer, mitigating, said Harness had no previous convictions and found it difficult to accept the sexual aspect to his behaviour.
"It has brought him a good deal of shame," said Mr Palmer. "He is finding it very hard to face up to what he has done. He has learned his lesson."
Recorder Eric Elliott QC praised the two eyewitnesses for their "public-spirited actions" and awarded each of them £250 from public funds.
Harness was given a three-year supervision order, including a sex offenders' treatment programme, and was given a five-year sexual offences prevention order. He must register as a sex offender for five years.
After the hearing, Mr Cox, 45, of Hull, told the Grimsby Telegraph they realised something was "not right" after seeing what was apparently going on in the other car.
"He didn't even see us, but we saw what went on," he said.
"He started the car up," said Mr Cox. "The police said: 'Can you follow the vehicle and give us a running commentary on the streets he is going down?'
"The next minute, we saw the police coming down Hessle Road. Sharon was talking to the police. I was driving. Sharon was telling the police what street it was.
"He got pulled up outside Asda. The police physically dragged him out of the car. There were about three of them. That kid had a look of fear. He didn't want to be sitting there."