A TEENAGER who has admitted sexually assaulting an underage girl may be released after eight weeks in custody if an adequate home address can be found.
Josh Hyde committed the assault on the 15-year-old girl against her will on December 3, 2019, less than a fortnight before his 17th birthday.
Durham Crown Court heard that he later used emotional blackmail in messages, apologising and urging her not to report it, claiming he was thinking of self-harm and threatening to, “go missing” by taking, “a long walk in the woods”.
It led the girl to urge him: “Don’t do anything stupid in the woods.”
He then moved the conversation back round to asking her to have a relationship with him.
The court heard the girl told friends the following day and her mother became involved, leading to a report to police.
Hyde was arrested on January 24, last year, and made no reply in his police interview.
But, at a recent hearing, the now 18-year-old defendant, admitted engaging in sexual activity with a girl aged 13 to 15.
He was remanded in custody and due to be sentenced at Durham Crown Court yesterday, having also admitted more recent offences of burglary of a charity shop, taking a collection box, and taking a motorcycle without the owner’s consent.
The court heard both of those offences took place in Whitley Bay, where the defendant was living in care, at the time.
Judge James Adkin said given his age, and the fact he has spent several weeks in custody in an adult prison since pleading, it may be preferable for Hyde to do work as part of some form of community order.
But the judge said it appears that the pitfall with that proposition is that he has no current available accommodation in the community.
Christine Egerton, for Hyde, said: “He does have a specialist probation officer and has had somebody working closely with him trying to sort out suitable accommodation.”
Judge Adkin agreed to remand him to remain in custody for the Probation Service to report back on the prospect of finding the defendant suitable accommodation in time for a re-listed sentencing hearing, on June 22.