Judge Lets Convicted Pedophile Walk Free Because He Could 'Get Sick' in Jail
Cyril Hardy, 80, caught trying to rape child - has 50-year sex crimes history
A notorious convicted pedophile, with a 50-year-long history of child sex crimes, has been set free by a judge for trying to rape a minor because he could "get sick" in jail.
Convicted child rapist Cyril Hardy, 80, has been spared jail after he was caught trying to rape a child - who turned out to be an adult vigilante posing as a 14-year-old girl.
Despite being found guilty of the offense, and Hardy's disturbing track record, the judge let him walk free because he's "vulnerable."
Hardy was caught red-handed by a UK-based pedophile hunter group Parents Standing Together For Our Kids, Manchester's Minshull Street Crown Court heard.
The sex predator pleaded guilty to attempting to engage in sexual communication with a minor and attempting to meet a child under 16 years old for grooming and sexual abuse.
The court heard how Stacey McDonald, 29, a member of the pedophile hunter group, set up a decoy as a "14-year-old girl" called Atara Louise on MeetMe and WhatsApp.
Alexandra Sutton, prosecuting, said that between October 21, 2017, and November 20, 2017, Hardy told "Atara" he wanted her to live with him, marry him and have his children.
Ms. Sutton said: "She said her mother was going away for a week.
"He asked her to meet him in the city center for shopping and said he would take her to buy some new outfits.
"He asked if she wanted a silver or yellow gold wedding ring."
The court heard how on November 18, 2017, Hardy arranged to meet "Atara" at Manchester Victoria station and sent her a photograph of his car registration number.
Once there he was confronted by members of Parents Standing Together For Our Kids, filmed, and arrested by police.
A bottle of perfume, an iPhone, and an iTunes gift card were found in his vehicle.
When reprimanded, Ms. Sutton said Hardy, who has 16 convictions for 20 offenses, said he thought "Atara" was actually older than she was.
Hardy, from Rochdale, Greater Manchester, said that the talk about marriage and children was "just a laugh."
Daniel Gaskrell, mitigating, described Hardy - who originally pleaded not guilty but later changed his plea - as "a lonely old man who was seeking comfort of strangers, and has been in and out of marriages."
Judge Paul Lawton criticized two-year delays to the case and said he would have had no reservations of sending Hardy to prison, despite his age.
But, due to the length of time it had taken for the case to conclude, Judge Lawton said he now had the problem that Hardy is vulnerable to illness, due to suffering from ischemic heart disease and being diabetic.
Judge Lawton said: "You are a ticking time bomb in custody..."
He added: "You met 'Atara' on different apps.
"She was a decoy set up by adults.
"She made it crystal clear she was only 14 years old and this did not deter you in any way.
"You said she should bear you with children and you signed off with multiple kisses on numerous occasions.
"You had gifts in your car for 'Atara'.
"This suggests a man living in an absolute fantasy world, thinking a 14-year-old girl would find you attractive.
"This is all the more sinister with regard to your previous convictions of sexual assault and rape for which you served seven years in prison.
"Your intentions were sexual although I can not say if it would be penetrable sexual activity."
The judge said the length of time the case had been "sat on" since 2017 was "unexplained and unacceptable."
Judge Lawton said Hardy is "incredibly vulnerable" to getting "sick" in prison.
"That draws me back from giving you a custodial sentence," the judge said.
"If you further offend you will be going back to prison."
Hardy, who appeared in court using two walking sticks, was sentenced to 18 months in prison, suspended for two years, along with 30 Rehabilitation Activity Requirement days.
He must sign the sex offender register for ten years.
He was also given a ten-year Sexual Harm Prevention Order.