Sex offender pulled boy's pants down in public toilet

Stephen Wilkinson. Photo: Rob Kidd
Stephen Wilkinson. Photo: Rob Kidd
A recidivist sex offender pulled down the pants of an 8-year-old boy in a public toilets, a court has heard.

Stephen Edric Wilkinson (53) had amassed seven convictions for indecencies across several incidents since 1997, Judge Emma Smith noted yesterday.

"You simply haven’t been able to stop your need for sexual gratification with young children; you’ve sought them out for that purpose," she said.

Such was the seriousness of his repeated sex offences, the Crown had considered pursuing transferral of the file to the High Court to argue for a sentence of preventive detention (an indefinite jail term), prosecutor Chris Bernhardt said.

On February 27, the Dunedin District Court heard, Wilkinson drove the 6km from his St Kilda home to the Caledonian Ground in the north of the city, where children’s sport regularly takes place on a Saturday morning.

"You had no reason to be there — you drove there for sexual gratification," Judge Smith said.

Wilkinson went into the public toilets, situated at the back of the main grandstand, where there was an 8-year-old boy using a urinal.

The defendant walked closely behind the victim then stood beside him.

The boy reported feeling the man’s warm breath on the back of his neck, then his shorts were pulled down.

A witness heard the victim’s vocal protests and went to his assistance while Wilkinson fled.

He walked away as people confronted him and was eventually chased down after making a sprint for his car.

Members of the public restrained Wilkinson as police were called to the scene.

The defendant initially denied the sexual assault but admitted being in the toilet.

Counsel Steve Turner said his client now fully accepted responsibility for the offending and was "disgusted with himself".

Wilkinson was motivated to do specialist sex-offender treatment, he said.

The judge said the incident was traumatising for the boy and his parents.

The ordeal for the "sensitive" victim "triggered a great deal of anxiety and stress", the judge said.

"[The parents] are very harsh on themselves, fearing they’ve let their boy down by not protecting him."

Wilkinson was jailed for 13 and a-half months.

He was now subject to the restrictions of the Child Sex Offender Register.

Judge Smith warned Wilkinson if he committed further sex crimes he would likely find himself before the High Court.

 - rob.kidd@odt.co.nz 

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