A sex offender who chatted with what he believed to be a 14-year-old girl has still not been convicted after another delay on his medical report.
Matthew Sherwood is now due to be sentenced at Worcester Crown Court on Friday June 17, almost five months after he first admitted the offenses.
The 37-year-old pleaded guilty to sex offenses before magistrates in late January, hiding behind a human shield of supporters in court.
There have been five court hearings in this case alone so far – four at Worcester Crown Court alone – at a time when judges and magistrates are still working to clear the backlog of cases created by the Covid-19 pandemic. 19.
He was due to be sentenced on March 2, but the case was adjourned for six weeks until April 13 because his lawyer argued his mental health needed to be explored before a decision was made on his fate.
However, by that date the report was still not available to the defense and the case was adjourned until May 11.
At this hearing, the case was again adjourned until May 26, and on that date it was adjourned again due to the absence of the report.
The defendant, of Mandalay Drive, Norton, Worcester, admitted to attempting to provoke or incite a child to engage in sexual activity, attempting to have sexual communication with a child and having indecent images of children .
We’ve previously reported how Sherwood was thrown into court by supporters who formed a “human shield” so he couldn’t be photographed.
In March, Sherwood said he was fired with a series of mental health issues, including psychosis and schizophrenia.
At a hearing at Worcester Magistrates Court on January 27, Sherwood pleaded guilty to attempting to have sexual communication with a child between January 31, 2020 and February 8, 2020.
He further admitted to trying to provoke or incite a girl between the ages of 13 and 15 to engage in sexual activity between January 31, 2020 and February 8, 2020.
Sherwood was in court on March 2 when Judge Martin Jackson agreed “there should be medical evidence from his mental health practitioner to perhaps examine the connection between his mental health condition and these offences.”
Speaking in April on the case, Belinda Ariss, defending, said she had written to the Enhanced Primary Care Mental Health Service. “Unfortunately, we have not yet received a response. Unfortunately, this letter and this response have not been followed up,” she said.
The defendant was also told to sign the sex offender register at the last hearing, which means he must inform the police of any change of address for example.
The “attempts” mean the accused was communicating with a “decoy” using fake profiles, rather than a real child. Sherwood further admitted to making indecent photos of a child between April 12, 2020 and June 6, 2020. He had three category C images, the least serious category according to the guidelines.
Judge James Burbidge QC warned Sherwood in April: “You should not think that you will necessarily avoid immediate detention. You have to prepare for this. These are serious things.
The case was previously opened by prosecutor David Jackson, who said Sherwood was nabbed by a group called ‘No More Secrets’, an online child protection unit using the profile of a fictitious young girl. 14 years old.
“He told her she was beautiful and that age is just a number,” Mr Jackson said.
Sherwood was released on unconditional bail. A draft ordinance for the prevention of sexual abuse will also be examined.