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Thursday, 02 July 2015

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Care concern for Barrow man who tried to groom girls

A BARROW man with an unhealthy interest in schoolgirls has still not been admitted to a long-term psychiatric hospital – more than six months after a judge ordered that he should be sent to one.

Health officials have been trying to find a suitable place for Darryl Hartley, 21, ever since August, when a court heard how he had travelled hundreds of miles in the hope of having sex with underage schoolgirls he had befriended on the internet.

After hearing details of the case Judge Peter Hughes QC said Hartley should receive treatment for his “significant mental difficulties” at a secure psychiatric hospital.

But there is only one such hospital in the north of England – the Roseberry Park mental hospital near Middlesbrough – and it has only 12 beds suitable for patients like Hartley.

And, Carlisle Crown Court heard the waiting list is such that no suitable place will become available there until someone who is currently receiving treatment moves out.

Meanwhile Hartley, of Stackwood Avenue, Barrow, has been staying in the Guild Lodge psychiatric unit near Preston, which his doctors have said should not be seen as somewhere able to provide the long-term care he needs.

It was in July that, because of his mental condition – described as “a particularly acute form of Asperger syndrome” – Hartley was found to be unfit to plead to charges of planning to meet girls “with the intention of having sexual activity with them” after grooming them on the internet.

The court heard he had travelled to Glasgow to meet one 13-year-old after engaging in sexual banter and swapping sexual photos with her on Facebook.

And a few weeks later he travelled to Shropshire to meet a 14-year-old as she came out of her school wearing her uniform. She too sent him indecent intimate photographs of herself.

In August a jury found that he had committed those acts and Judge Hughes said he was looking to impose “a long-term order for treatment in hospital.”

On Friday prosecuting counsel Tim Evans told the court that “the treatment which it is agreed is very necessary has been frustrated by the lack of a bed and/or funding.”

Judge Hughes said he was “concerned” by the length of time it was taking for the health authorities to find a place for Hartley to receive the treatment.

Judge Hughes adjourned the case until May 9, by which time, he said, he expects to hear either that Hartley has been found a bed or that the authorities have a properly drawn up plan for his future treatment.


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